West Bromwich Albion have been dealt a blow to their hopes of bringing Valerien Ismael to The Hawthorns this summer.
In a recent interview with Barnsley’s official website, their CEO Dane Murphy revealed that there have been no approaches made for the club’s 45-year-old manager so far, in addition to stating that he fully expects Ismael to remain at Oakwell for the club’s upcoming Championship campaign.
However, Murphy appears confident that neither club will be successful in their attempts, with the Barnsley CEO stating: “We’ve heard the rumours, we’ve seen the headlines, but we haven’t had any direct approach for Valerien.
“Of course there is going to be rumour and interest after the season we’ve just had. What Valerien put together with our club was incredible. But I am extremely confident, the club is extremely confident that he will return and he’s going to continue to be the leader of our team.”
“I don’t envisage a situation where we aren’t looking at season 2021/22 without Valerien Ismael as our head coach.”
Considering just how impressive a job Ismael has done at Barnsley since taking over at the club last October, the likelihood that West Brom will be unable to poach the 45-year-old from Oakwell this summer is sure to leave Baggies fans furious.
Indeed, over his 39 Championship fixtures as the Tykes’ manager, Ismael guided his team to 23 wins, five draws and 11 losses, picking up a whopping 74 points along the way.
This form saw Barnsley comfortably qualify for a place in the play-offs, finishing the regular season above Bournemouth in fifth place in the Championship standings and just 13 points behind Watford in an automatic promotion spot.
Although the Tykes narrowly missed out on a shot at promotion in the play-off final following their 2-1 aggregate loss to Swansea City in the semis, considering the club were predicted to finish in 18th place by FourFourTwo before a ball had been kicked last season, the argument can easily be made that Ismael has worked something of a miracle in his short time at Oakwell.
Aside from his obvious coaching talents, with the 45-year-old being described as a “young, ambitious” manager by the club’s CEO, these are both traits which – following West Brom’s relegation from the Premier League under Sam Allardyce – the Baggies’ hierarchy will undoubtedly be seeking in their next coach.
As such, Ismael does not seem to be far off being the ideal candidate as West Brom’s next manager, but following Murphy’s recent comments, the Baggies very much appear to have an uphill battle on their hands if they are to land the Frenchman this summer.