West Bromwich Albion could yet turn back to Chris Wilder in their pursuit of a new manager, but the club will have to persuade Guochuan Lai to go back on his initial stance on appointing the former Sheffield United boss.
David Wagner had looked set for the Hawthorns vacancy up until this morning, but his desire to stay closer to his family in Germany has seen him snub the opportunity to return to the Championship.
Wilder was ruled out by Lai over doubts surrounding his relationship with Sheffield United’s owners, but West Brom finding themselves back at square one brings him back into the reckoning.
The Athletic report that West Brom are now going to have to consider a left-field appointment or try to convince Lai that Wilder is indeed the right man for the Baggies’ job.
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In terms of a left-field appointment, Derek McInnes’ name has been thrown into the mix in this report, with the former West Brom player out of work after leaving Aberdeen.
West Brom’s search for a new manager has been narrowed down by the fact the club aren’t willing to pay compensation for someone currently in work.
That rules out the likes of Michael Appleton, Valerien Ismael and Steve Cooper, and was the reason why Wilder and Wagner have been frontrunners at different stages over the last couple of weeks.
Wilder won two promotions in three seasons at Sheffield United, leading them from League One into the Premier League, whilst Wagner won the 2016/17 play-offs at Huddersfield Town.
You do begin to wonder whether Wagner not taking the job might lead West Brom back to Wilder, who does seem the standout candidate.
Of course, they have to convince Lai to change his mind and given he’s the majority shareholder at the club, without the green-light from him, Wilder won’t get the job.
However, all of a sudden, days are turning into weeks and weeks can quickly develop into months. West Brom need to get sorted and start properly planning for next season.
An appointment has to come over the next week, whether that’s Wilder, McInnes or someone else.
Thoughts? Let us know!