EXCLUSIVE: Barnsley forced to rethink manager’s job over red tape

Date published: Monday 28th June 2021 10:36 - Graeme Bailey


TEAMtalk understands Barnsley’s owners were ready to hand their manager’s job to to Alexander Blessin, but red-tape has left their hopes up in the air.

Work permit regulations could scupper the Championship club’s plan to appoint the 48-year-old German coach to succeed Valerien Ismael.

The Tykes are looking for another new manager after Ismael’s departure to Championship rivals West Bromwich Albion.

The 45-year-old signed a four-year contract at The Hawthorns last week after Albion agreed a compensation package with Barnsley.

Blessin, who is in charge of Belgian outfit KV Oostende, came on to Barnsley’s radar after Sheffield United’s interest in him.

The Blades were looking for a replacement for Chris Wilder and were apparently impressed with his work in Belgium. That was before they appointed Slavisa Jokanovic last month on a three-year deal.

Blessin, in his first senior coaching role, guided Oostende into fifth spot in the Belgian top flight last season. That proved a huge turn around after the club only just managed to avoid relegation in the previous campaign..

Sheffield United did their homework though. Blades officials found that under current Brexit regulations he would not gain a work-permit without an appeal.

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 Work permit problems

As a result of new regulations that came into force on January 1, managers need to have worked for two consecutive years in a top league or three of the last five.


Barnsley’s owners would love to land Blessin, as he is already works for them at Oostende. But with red tape blocking their move and uncertainty around an appeal, they are set to look elsewhere.

Should, Blessin’s move not materialise, then former Sheff United boss Wilder is believed to be on their list of options. However, the favourite is former Austrian international Markus Schopp, who is currently at Hartberg.

The Tykes though will have to pay for Schopp. The 47-year-old  recently extended his contract at the Austrian Bundesliga side and is understood to have a release clause valued at around £300,000, per the Yorkshire Post.

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