This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Bromwich Albion are admirers of Barnsley’s Valerien Ismael as they search for a Sam Allardyce successor, according to the Daily Mail.
The Baggies are still yet to find their man to replace ‘Big Sam’, who departed the club following relegation from the Premier League.
Former Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was in pole position to take the job, but West Brom money-man Lai Guochuan had reservations about how Wilder’s time at the Blades ended due to a strained relationship with the owner there.
The plug was pulled on that deal and David Wagner seemed to be the next man who was close to being appointed, but the ex-Huddersfield head coach has opted for Young Boys in Switzerland instead.
After an impressive season with Barnsley, Ismael is said to have supporters at the Baggies, along with former midfielder Michael Appleton who is at Lincoln City, but compensation would need to be paid for either and that’s not something that Guochuan wants to do.
Things can change quickly though and if it does, Ismael becomes a massive contender to take charge in the west Midlands – would he be a good appointment though? We asked the FLW team for their thoughts.
Certainly worth a look.
Ismael’s stock has gone through the roof with the job he has done at Barnsley and, naturally, now could be a good time for him to use that to his advantage and get a big move to a club like West Brom.
Of course, Barnsley will want to go again and challenge for the play-offs at the very least once more next season, but you’d argue West Brom can be promotion contenders providing they get their house in order and start all pulling in the right direction.
Ismael has the character to get the players singing off the same hymn sheet and the style of play to really get the Baggies going – they have some good players and under him they would surely have a chance of winning most games, providing it all clicks.
I can see why Albion are looking at him, and there are certainly worse options out there.
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This could be a fantastic appoint for the Baggies but it’s not without its risks.
Taking Barnsley to the play-offs was an amazing feat and Ismael deserves a huge amount of credit for it, however, it’s a small sample size to base such a big decision on.
Managing an underdog is different to taking charge of a West Brom side that will be expected to win promotion back to the top flight next term.
I’d love to see them roll the dice on Ismael because he’s got the potential to be a special manager and with the backing of the West Midlands club, next season could be exciting.
Whether Albion are willing to gamble remains to seen.
He’d be a quality appointment, but I can’t see it happening.
Ismael has done a superb job since taking the reins at Barnsley from Gerhard Struber, showing his qualities as a coach and showing that he can galvanise a dressing room too.
His sides like to attack, and I think he’s the type of manager who would get the best out of West Brom’s very obvious attacking, flair players.
But this week has showed that Albion daren’t particularly united off the pitch, whereas there is a clear project and vision at Barnsley, and I think he’d be better off continuing the job at Oakwell.
It would be some coup to lure him away.