WEST Ham United will face a compensation bill of almost £15million should they sack Manuel Pellegrini as a result of their woeful start to the season.

It is understood that the Hammers failed to insert a termination clause in Pellegrini’s contract when they recruited him from Hebei China Fortune in the summer, so the manager would be entitled to have his contract paid up in full unless both parties agree a severance package.

West Ham abandoned their recent policy of financial restraint when pursuing Pellegrini, agreeing to make him one of the highest paid bosses in the Premier League with a salary of £5million that could reach £7million if certain performance targets are met.

The club backed the former Manchester City chief heavily in the transfer market, spending £98million on new players as well as giving a three-year contract worth £15million to Jack Wilshere, who signed from Arsenal on a free transfer.

West Ham are determined to give Pellegrini time to turn things around — not least because of the cost of dismissing him — after a dismal start in which they have lost their first four league matches.

But Pellegrini will come under increased pressure if the east Londoners continue to struggle in a daunting run of Premier League fixtures after the international break.

The Hammers return on September 16 with a trip to Everton before back-to-back games at the London Stadium against Chelsea and Manchester United.

West Ham’s owners have often stood by under-performing managers but may have little option but to act if the team continue to struggle.

Slaven Bilic was sacked last November after a poor run of results, with the club paying him £2million in compensation and replacing him with David Moyes.

Meanwhile, Pellegrini has returned to his native Chile for the international break, even though just four first team players — Marko Arnautovic, Lukasz Fabianski, Robert Snodgrass and Andriy Yarmolenko — are away with their respective countries.