Barnsley are not yet on the verge of appointing a new manager despite strong links with Sweden Under-21s manager Poya Asbaghi, according to BBC Sheffield’s Adam Oxley.
The Iranian-born coach, who has spent the entirety of his relatively short managerial career out in Sweden, was reported by Expressen to be closing in on the vacancy at Oakwell with only ‘small details’ to complete before the move was sealed.
Though he is a relatively unknown figure in England, this speculation came as no surprise for a side that have utilised Europe to recruit the likes of Daniel Stendel, Gerhard Struber, Valerien Ismael and Markus Schopp in the past.
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All have endured different fortunes during their time at the helm in South Yorkshire, with Schopp previously looking to build on Ismael’s fifth-place finish with the Tykes last term.
But after only winning one of their opening 15 league matches this term, allowing Bristol City to end their nine-month home hoodoo in the Austrian’s last match in charge, Schopp was dismissed at the start of this month and they have been on the search for a permanent boss to take over from caretaker Joseph Laumann.
The Tykes’ new manager, regardless of who takes over amid speculation over Asbaghi, will have a tough task in dragging them away from relegation danger, currently sitting in 23rd place and four points adrift of safety as things stand after losing against fellow strugglers Hull City in their last match.
As per BBC Radio Sheffield commentator Oxley, 36-year-old Asbaghi may have been one name on the club’s shortlist, but no announcement on a new boss is expected to be ‘imminent’ at this stage.
It would still be no surprise if they appointed the 36-year-old as their new manager, because they seem to be keen on recruiting their managers from Europe and despite Schopp’s fortunes, they will be heartened by Ismael’s success last season.
What Asbaghi lacks in Championship managerial experience would surely be made up for with his unpredictability, making it extremely difficult for opposition teams to work out how he will set up his side during the early stages of his tenure.
Modern technology and the ability to watch games in depth will help the opposition with this slightly, but the young coach will probably have developed and evolved his system since leaving IFK Goteborg last year.
Youth international football is also a completely different kettle of fish to the Championship, providing a potentially torturous task to Fulham at the weekend if he’s appointed by then who may find little use in watching recent Sweden Under-21 games.
Retaining that unpredictability, whilst also keeping a settled system at the same time, could be the key to his success at Oakwell in what would be his first spell as a manager in England.