Former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips has stated his opinion on the need for any Baggies manager to be given the final say on incomings and outgoings, with the club taking the decision not to replace former Director of Football Luke Dowling.
According to last week’s Football Insider exclusive, the recently-relegated side are prepared to give full control of transfers to their new appointment who is set to be current Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael.
If Ismael is confirmed as the Baggies’ new manager, he is set to work closely with the recruitment team on targets and monitor potential outgoings as they prepare for their first campaign back in the Championship.
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Rekeem Harper, Sam Johnstone and Matheus Pereira are three players who are rumoured to be on their way out of the Hawthorns this summer, with the former the closest to departing the West Midlands despite his move being held up by the current managerial situation.
Even without these potential departures, Ismael will want to put his stamp on the Baggies and their former forward Kevin Phillips believes the Frenchman should have full control over their summer deals.
Speaking to West Brom News about this amid Dowling’s departure and the club’s subsequent strategic change, the 47-year-old said: “Whether there’s a director of football involved or not, I’ve always said that at the end of the day, the manager should have the final say.
“The manager should go to the director of football with a list and say, ‘these are the players I want, now go and get them for me’. It’s as simple as that.
“That’s how I feel a director of football should work, it shouldn’t be the other way around with them giving a list to a manager.
“They can be good because you can bounce stuff off the director of football so it goes to the chairman and it saves you from pestering the chairman so you can concentrate on your job.
“I think ultimately, when it comes to signing players and letting players go, the manager should have complete say on it because I’ve said before, if it goes wrong there’s no one else to blame and if it goes right, the manager takes full credit.”
Another Football Insider report believes West Brom are currently in the race for £3m-rated midfielder Sam Clucas, who could depart the bet365 Stadium on a cheap deal this summer.
However, if the new appointment is given full control of signings, this potential move may fizzle out with the Barnsley manager not even unveiled yet and therefore unlikely to have spoken to the club’s recruitment team.
Although Kevin Phillips makes a great point about the power of a Director of Football and why they should not be involved in drawing up targets, the short-term nature of managerial stints often means they are desired to provide a sense of continuity when a manager is sacked or resigns.
If Isamel’s move (if it goes through) doesn’t work out, West Brom may completely change their strategy mid-season if a vastly different manager replaces him. You could argue there needs to be that change if the appointment doesn’t work out – but chopping and changing strategies constantly will greatly harm the West Midlands side.
This is why there needs to someone there to act as a figure of continuity, even if it isn’t a Director of Football, to help the manager and be a mediator between him and the owners when tricky situations arise.
Give the manager full control over recruitment – but have that other footballing figure in the background as well to help in key discussions with owner Guochuan Lai and Chief Executive Xu Ke.