Valerien Ismael: West Brom appoint Barnsley boss as new head coach

Valerien Ismael
Valerien Ismael managed Wolfsburg, Apollon Smyrni and Linz before joining Barnsley

West Bromwich Albion have appointed Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael as their new head coach on a four-year contract.

The 45-year-old Frenchman replaces Sam Allardyce, who left The Hawthorns following Albion's relegation from the Premier League.

Former Crystal Palace defender Ismael took over at Barnsley last October with the club 21st in the Championship.

They won 25 of his 44 games in charge to finish fifth before losing to Swansea City in the play-offs.

"I feel really proud to have accepted this challenge. I feel a big responsibility but I'm ready for this job and I am delighted to be here," Ismael told the club website.external-link

"This was the next step I wanted to take in my career. Although there's going to be a lot of hard work this season, I am excited for the big task in front of us.

"It's a big commitment from the club to want me to implement a philosophy I want for the next four years. We have a clear plan and vision of where we want to go."

Albion have agreed an undisclosed compensation package with the Tykes for the former Wolfsburg and LASK manager.

"Valerien has established a reputation as an excellent coach and I have been impressed by his professionalism, enthusiasm and hunger to succeed," said Baggies chief executive officer Xu Ke.

"His performance last season with Barnsley, and his coaching career to date, all point to a man who has a long, successful career in front of him. It is my hope that he is with us for at least the next four years.

"I am confident that by working together we will be able to achieve our goal of returning to the Premier League, but success is earned by building on strong foundations, and our plans must now look further into the future."

Analysis

BBC WM's Baggies correspondent Rob Gurney

Albion have finally arrived at their successor to Sam Allardyce, via a circuitous route involving Chris Wilder being vetoed by owner Guochuan Lai and David Wagner opting to move to Switzerland instead.

Ismael got Barnsley to the Championship play-off semi-finals with a brand of high-energy, high press football.

Now he has just 44 days to enhance last season's relegated squad before the start of the new Championship season, and a trip to Bournemouth on the opening day.

A run to the round of 16 in the Europa League with Austrian club LASK is to date the most impressive achievement on his CV.

Whether his intense playing style will be replicated at The Hawthorns, or a slightly diluted version of it, largely depends on the quality of the player Ismael will be allowed or able to sign.

Former Barnsley man Alex Mowatt, on a free transfer, could well be his first piece of business in his new post.

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