West Brom are still looking for their Steve Bruce replacement and one man touted with a potential switch to the Hawthorns is Russell Martin.
The Athletic claimed that the young manager, who is currently in charge of Swansea City, is one man on Ron Gourlay’s shortlist as the Baggies look for a new leader to push them up the table.
After an impressive spell at MK Dons, which chairman Pete Winkleman described as “amazing“, Martin has earned plaudits for his style of play with the Swans and currently has them eighth in the league after some strong recent form.
However, that form came to an end with a bang on Saturday, as they were trounced 4-0 at Burnley in a game that highlighted the limitations of Martin’s style of play.
There was some non-existent defending for Burnley’s first goal as Vitinho was left unmarked at the back post to head in, while Martin’s philosophy of playing out the back played a big part in the third, as Ben Cabango’s slack pass was capitalised on by the hosts.
If he were to arrive at the Hawthorns he would undoubtedly stick to those principles, as he reinforced in a viral video.
He said: “If it doesn’t work and I get sacked, at least I get sacked doing something I believe in. I don’t get sacked regretting that I have bowed on my principles.”
Implementing that sort of style takes time and results in a lot of mistakes at the back at first, which was emphasised last season when the Swans shipped 68 goals in the Championship as they finished 15th.
Even with a more impressive standing so far this season, there are still only three teams that have conceded more than Swansea’s 20 goals, which suggests that they are far from defensively solid.
Sir Alex Ferguson famously said that attack wins you games but defence wins you titles and if West Brom have any aspirations of returning to the Premier League in the next few years, they must appoint a more defensively sound manager.
The Baggies will be hoping that this season can still be salvaged, so perhaps a manager as inexperienced as Martin is not the saviour right now.