West Bromwich Albion have this afternoon confirmed the appointment of Frenchman Valerien Ismael as their new manager, following a lengthy search finding a successor for Sam Allardyce.
Ismael departs West Brom’s Championship rivals Barnsley following an excellent stint whilst at the helm at Oakwell, where he guided the Tykes to an unlikely spot in the play-offs last term.
Several managers were linked with the top job at the Baggies with Chris Wilder and David Wagner among those close to getting the job at the Hawthorns, but the club’s hierarchy have decided to opt for Ismael whom West Brom had to pay a compensation fee for to lure to the Midlands.
Speaking about the challenge ahead at West Brom, Ismael said to the club’s official website:
“I feel really proud to have accepted this challenge and after talking with Ken about the project here, and how we would integrate a new identity, I’m ready to get to work.
“I feel a big responsibility but I’m ready for this job and I am delighted to be here.
“I know a lot about the club’s history and the atmosphere at The Hawthorns, which is an amazing stadium, and the fans make it a special place to play.
“This was the next step I wanted to take in my career and I’m ready to work with everyone at this club. Although there’s going to be a lot of hard work this season, I am excited for the big task in front of us.”
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“It’s a big commitment from the club to want me to implement a philosophy I want for the next four years. My first task is to implement a new identity that the fans can enjoy and one where they can see the players are there for each other and give everything on the pitch to win games. We have a clear plan and vision of where we want to go.
“We’re going to need everyone, especially our fans, to support the team. It’s a new start for everyone and it’s important that we take on this new challenge together, and we’ll continue to work hard to make the fans proud this year.”
“We have a good mix of young and experienced players in this squad and for sure we will need some new faces in certain positions – but the only massive change here will be the way we play and the formation.
“We are very happy with the group here and now it’s about working on the motivation and mentality of the boys.
“We have the quality but the big difference in this division is the mentality you need. It’s up to me and my staff to create the right mentality for the players and they need to quickly prepare for the Championship and be ready to compete.”
This is a fantastic appointment for West Brom.
Ismael did a simply sensational job at Barnsley last season as he gave the Tykes a clear, distinct brand of football that proved very effective as they secured a play-off berth.
The Frenchman has certainly got a lot of work to do this summer to get the Baggies team to adopt the footballing philosophies and stye of lay that he wants, but he’s going to be given resource to achieve that so he’s in a good position.
Work is certainly needed with regards to recruitment this summer and you’d imagine Ismael will get to work on that straight away.
Ultimately though, Baggies fans will need to be patient with Ismael. It’s going to take time for his ideas and ways to rub off on the players, but give him that time, he has the ability to flourish.