West Brom are set to hold talks with Chris Wilder following the news that Sam Allardyce will leave the club this summer…
According to The Telegraph‘s John Percy, the former Sheffield United manager is high on the Baggies’ shortlist to replace the departing 66-year-old and is believed to have already been approached.
The Midlands outfit will be back in the Championship next season but do not want to splash out compensation on a manager who is already in a job as it would damage their transfer budget, meaning that former Albion player and coach Michael Appleton – currently in charge of Lincoln – is effectively ruled out.
Wilder is said to be an increasingly attractive option for The Hawthorns gig.
If sporting director Luke Dowling and the West Brom hierarchy are wanting an out-of-work coach that has vast experience in the lower leagues, then there will not be a better candidate out there than Wilder. The 53-year-old is largely responsible for the Blades’ phenomenal rise in recent years, going from League One to the Premier League, all whilst on a tight budget.
Slaven Bilic’s reign was tarnished by a lack of spending power in the transfer market, so appointing someone with past experience in improving teams with as little money as possible is a hugely attractive factor.
You only have to listen to Martin Keown’s glowing praise to understand just how good a job Wilder did at Bramall Lane, as he told Match of the Day (via Daily Express): “[He is] Their Messiah. Their Alex Ferguson. When you think of what he’s done for that football club. He’s their leader.”
Aside from playing an intriguing tactical system, one which includes overlapping centre-backs, the former Sheffield United boss could fix a big problem in the Midlands – conceding goals.
Yes, they may have finished rock bottom this campaign, but last season, the Blades were among the most solid teams in the top-flight. They conceded only 39 goals, better than the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Leicester City, who all finished above them in the table.
By contrast, no Premier League team has leaked more goals than West Brom this year (73), not even the rock-bottom Blades.
Wilder has drawn further acclaim from his peers over the last few years, too. Jurgen Klopp described their tactics as “special” and also lauded the 53-year-old’s “exceptional” work, via Liverpool ECHO, whilst Pep Guardiola suggested that had Wilder been in charge of a team like City, he would be challenging for the title rather than facing relegation, as per Goal.
All in all, if Dowling and co want to revive the Baggies from their woeful exploits this term, then there will not be a better candidate than Wilder out there. They need someone with experience and know-how in one of the toughest divisions in England, and the former Blades chief is surely that man.
Albion must secure him as soon as possible.