Valerien Ismael is seemingly the man in the frame to finally takeover in the hotseat at West Bromwich Albion.
The enigmatic Frenchman hit the headlines last season as he led his plucky Barnsley side to an unlikely appearance in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs, underlining the huge impact that he had made after taking on the job in late 2020.
Fast forward to now and it appears that the Tykes will once again be looking for a new man to take them forwards, with the Baggies said to be closing in on the 45-year-old’s signature.
It is hoped in various quarters that Ismael can lead Albion straight back up to the top flight at the first attempt after they were relegated from the Premier League without much of a whimper.
Despite their shortcomings, Ismael will inherit one of the most multitalented squads in the second division and will inevitably be tasked with gaining automatic promotion as a result of that.
In addition to working with what he already has at his disposal, he will also be sure to want to bring in his own players to supplement the current squad.
Various names are sure to be mentioned but it appears that Sam Clucas is one that is hitting the headlines more than most in recent days.
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The 30-year-old Stoke City midfielder is said to be a target for the Baggies and could be snared away from the Bet365 Stadium this summer for a fee to the tune of £3 million, with the Potters being keen to cash in before he reaches the end of his contract next year.
Initially starting out as a winger during his younger years at Hereford, Mansfield and Chesterfield Town, Clucas has developed into a brilliant all round midfielder since moving to Stoke-on-Trent via Hull City and is sure to add a bit of extra drive to the West Brom engine room if he chooses to move to the Hawthorns.
He didn’t hit his best form last season but his performance levels in the 2019/20 campaign underlines the ability that he truly has as he netted 11 goals and assisted a further four for the Potters from an advanced midfield position.
Clucas has mastered the art of being a box to box player and is also a good set piece taker to boot, meaning that he can put chances on a plate for others when required.
If bringing in Ismael isn’t a statement in itself, the signing of Clucas would certainly raise eyebrows as the Baggies bid to deal a double blow to two of their divisional rivals.
The Frenchman’s tenure would certainly go off with a bang if he can bring in the 30-year-old as his first addition.