Former West Bromwich Albion midfielder and pundit Carlton Palmer has questioned why his former side didn’t follow through with their interest in old Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder earlier in the summer, as he spoke to Football Fancast.
The 53-year-old was on the Baggies shortlist and despite strong links between the two parties, the potential move fell through and since then, the club has been unable to find a successor for Sam Allardyce who left at the end of May.
However, they may have finally found his replacement in Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael, who is set to arrive at Hawthorns and bring this gruelling managerial search to an end, which saw Director of Football Luke Dowling leave the club.
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Even talks with Ismael have hit an obstacle with the two Championship sides negotiating how the £2m compensation is paid, but this is the closest the West Midlands side have come to appointing a manager during the process and this move is likely to go through.
Many fans at West Brom seem to be happy with this appointment compared to some of the other names being thrown around previously as potential candidates – but Palmer is still perplexed about the Wilder affair and why they didn’t recruit a man of such high calibre when they had the opportunity to.
Speaking exclusively to the Football Fancast, Palmer said: “It’s really strange that one. I can’t for the life of me believe they wouldn’t take Chris. I’d love to know the owner’s explanation as to why he’s not taken him.
“But I’m assuming that Chris would have said he wanted to be in complete control of all footballing matters. So maybe Luke was ok with that, working with him on that basis, and the chairman [or owner] wasn’t happy with that.”
According to The Athletic, West Brom owner Guochuan Lai vetoed the move for Wilder due to the former Sheffield United manager’s frosty relationship with Blades owner Prince Abdullah – and his public criticism of the major shareholder.
After the move collapsed, the Express and Star said there was a general consensus in the boardroom that they should approach the 53-year-old and were all set to carry out the operation before Guochuan Lai intervened – and with the managerial saga dragging on – many thought that move would turn out to be costly.
Thankfully for West Brom fans, they seem to have found a man they are happy with and someone who could potentially take them back to the top tier, which has to be the aim next season after relegation in their last.
But it’s vital they get this deal over the line – the Baggies have already suffered far too much disruption this summer.