Valerien Ismael has officially been appointed as the new head coach of West Bromwich Albion.
The 45-year-old has signed a four-year contract at The Hawthorns after Albion agreed a compensation package with Barnsley. Ismael succeeds Sam Allardyce after he stepped down at the end of last season after failing to keep West Brom in the Premier League.
The Frenchman guided Barnsley to an impressive fifth-placed finish in the Sky Bet Championship last season, after taking over in October 2020 with the club 21st in the table.
The former Crystal Palace defender won 25 of his 44 games in charge before losing to Swansea in the play-offs.
West Brom chief executive Xu Ke was pleased to acquire Ismael’s services. He is confident the former Nuremberg, Wolfsburg, LASK and Barnsley boss is the right man to lead the club back to the Premier League.
“I am delighted to welcome Valerien to The Hawthorns,” he said in a statement on the club website.
“Valerien has established a reputation as an excellent coach and I have been impressed by his professionalism, enthusiasm and hunger to succeed.
“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.
Ismael a long-term project
“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. For too long we have focused only on what is immediately in front of us. This means we have often neglected our long-term aspirations.
“We are all aware of what will be required in order to be successful and player recruitment will be of the utmost importance.
“Valerien and I will immediately focus on preparing the squad for the new season, working together with Ian Pearce, our head of recruitment, to secure talented transfer targets who will strengthen us for the challenges ahead, ensuring fans are once more proud to support this great club.
“I am excited to be working with Valerien and I am sure we will soon establish a strong relationship that will be to the benefit of the football club and its supporters.”