Steve Bruce is being seriously considered by the West Bromwich Albion hierarchy to replace the sacked Valérien Ismaël. The former Aston Villa and Birmingham manager suggested he would not return to the dugout after leaving Newcastle in October but has been identified as an ideal candidate to help the flagging Championship side.
Ismaël’s remit was to win promotion this season but the club are fifth and in danger of dropping out of the playoffs. He has departed less than 12 months into a four-year contract after three defeats in the past four matches.
Last month West Brom sanctioned the signing of Daryl Dike, who worked with Ismaël at Barnsley, but the striker has since been ruled out for two months with a hamstring injury. Last week Ismaël dropped the goalkeeper Sam Johnstone after a row, and other players were unconvinced by the Frenchman’s methods.
Ismaël was appointed on June 24th after West Brom paid compensation to take him from Barnsley but supporters have been critical of results and the team’s direct style. Ismaël guided Barnsley to fifth in the Championship last season, after taking over in October 2020 with the club 21st.
“West Bromwich Albion Football Club can confirm Valérien Ismaël has today left his position as head coach,” a statement said. “Assistant head coach Adam Murray has also departed.”
Ismaël succeeded Sam Allardyce after West Brom’s relegation and won four and drew one of his first five league games. Andy Carroll was another forward signed in January but he played once before Ismaël’s exit.
West Brom have restructured the top of the club, bringing in the former Chelsea ceo Ron Gourlay as chief executive in place of Xu Ke and announcing that the owner, Guochuan Lai, will take over as chairman from Li Piyue. – Guardian