A shock new contender has emerged for the vacant West Bromwich Albion manager’s job this weekend…
According to The Mirror, former Baggies boss Roy Hodgson is being considered for The Hawthorns hot seat in a surprising twist as the Midlands outfit continue their search to find Sam Allardyce’s successor.
It was confirmed earlier this month that the 73-year-old would be leaving Crystal Palace after four seasons at the helm in south London, and he’s now on the shortlist of potential options at West Brom.
Former Sheffield United chief Chris Wilder is thought to be the favourite, with Barnsley head coach Valerian Ismael also high up on the list.
Albion appear to be edging nearer to what would be a landmark appointment following their relegation to the Championship after Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre reported that they were ‘very close’ to making a decision [27th May 18:00].
Baggies sporting director Luke Dowling now has a difficult decision on his hands. Picking the next manager to take Albion forward is no easy feat, especially considering the candidates.
Wilder has an impressive track record behind him, having transformed the Blades from mid-table League One strugglers to the cusp of being a Europa League side in the space of just four years, whilst Hodgson’s previous time at West Brom saw them record their highest top-flight finish in over two decades.
After such a dismal campaign back in the Premier League last term, recording a club divisional low of five wins, it is important for Dowling to get this appointment absolutely spot-on.
Performances did improve a bit under Allardyce – drawing at Liverpool and thrashing Champions League winners Chelsea on their own patch – but ultimately it wasn’t enough as they struggled for goals and couldn’t stop leaking them either.
As revealed by The Mirror, it is thought that the Baggies to not want to restrict their choice to just one man, with Frank Lampard also in the running.
Working in Hodgson’s favour is the fact that there would be no compensation to pay for his services, on top of his previous success at The Hawthorns, whereas Barnsley want £1.5m to let their transformative head coach depart Oakwell.
The 73-year-old hasn’t ruled out staying in the dugout either, so it would certainly be an interesting yet surprising twist to see him return to his former club.
It’s now on Dowling to select the best candidate as Albion hone in on their next manager.