August 6, 2021

West Brom dealt major blow in managerial hunt, but Lai may have just dodged a bullet – opinion

2 min read
David Wagner will not become the new West Bromwich Albion manager this summer. What’s the...

David Wagner will not become the new West Bromwich Albion manager this summer.

What’s the talk?

That’s according to a report by The Athletic, who claim that The Hawthorns club look set to miss out on the 49-year-old coach, who now appears to be taking over at Swiss side Young Boys.

The former Huddersfield Town and Schalke manager had emerged as the surprise front runner to become Sam Allardyce’s successor at West Brom, after Guochuan Lai blocked the club’s move to appoint Chris Wilder, with the Chinese owner also ruling out a number of other targets due to his lack of willingness to pay a compensation fee.

According to The Athletic, the Baggies hierarchy will now have to turn to a left-field choice or convince Lai of returning to a previous candidate, such as Wilder.

Dodged a bullet

While Wagner does have experience in guiding a team from the Championship to the Premier League behind him, the German coach has not exactly had a great deal of success since.

Having taken Huddersfield to the top flight via the second-tier play-offs in the club’s 2016/17 campaign, and subsequently guiding the Terriers to a 16th place finish in their debut season in the Premier League, the 49-year-old left The John Smith’s Stadium by mutual consent after 22 games in 2018/19, having picked up just 11 points.

Wagner was then appointed on a three-year deal at Bundesliga side Schalke, whom he led to a 12th place finish in his first season in charge, winning nine, drawing 12 and losing 13 of his 34 league games that term.

However, after just two fixtures of the club’s 2020/21 campaign, Wagner was sacked, leaving Schalke while on a run of 18 league games without a victory – with his penultimate game in charge of Die Konigsblauen being an 8-0 drubbing by Bayern Munich.

As such, it could easily be argued that West Brom may have dodged something of a bullet by missing out on Wagner, as the 49-year-old may well have brought his form from his time at Schalke to The Hawthorns, rather than his record with Huddersfield.

In other news: West Brom given huge transfer boost over “magnificent” 28 y/o gem that’ll delight fans

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