Valerien Ismael is among the contenders for the vacant West Brom manager’s job, according to reports…
That’s the latest claim from the Daily Mirror, who suggested that the Barnsley boss is high on the Baggies’ shortlist to replace Sam Allardyce at The Hawthorns this summer.
It’s also thought that the Midlands outfit would need to pay around £1.5m in compensation to land the 45-year-old coach after an impressive season in charge of the Tykes.
Former West Brom manager Roy Hodgson and Chris Wilder have also been mooted with the Albion job.
After an abject and pathetic season on the pitch (just five league wins), culminating in relegation to the Championship after just one season back in the big time, a stern presence in the dugout could be exactly what West Brom need to spark the club back into life.
In his 44 games in charge of the club, he has registered a respectable 56.8% win rate, which is better than the other two candidates in their recent posts. Hodgson leaves Palace having won just 33% of matches, whilst Wilder only won 46.7% of games in charge of Sheffield United despite achieving promotion twice in three years.
Ismael has also been linked with the vacancy at Selhurst Park and, when speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, former Aston Villa star Lee Hendrie waxed lyrical about the Barnsley boss.
“He wants that aggressive style. He’s got a very good, young squad at Barnsley and done absolutely brilliant this season with what he’s had at Barnsley. I’ve got to say that, for sure,” the 44-year-old claimed. “I say he likes that aggressive style, but he likes that energy and he plays football in the right way.”
These are all encouraging signs towards why West Brom sporting and technical director Luke Dowling would be wise to appoint someone like Ismael, who was hardly heard of before his stint in the Championship this season.
Albion have a fine academy setup, which means that Ismael would tick another box as his Barnsley side were by far the youngest in the Championship, with an average of just 23.5, as per Transfermarkt.
That would suit Dowling and his academy setup at The Hawthorns, so if he wants to get a reaction ahead of the new season, then the 45-year-old Frenchman must be considered as a serious candidate alongside the likes of Wilder and Hodgson.