West Brom Opinion: The appointment of Slaven Bilic can be considered as a massive statement of intent from the Baggies
According to The Guardian, West Brom have put a full-stop to their long and tedious hunt for a new permanent manager with the appointment of former Croatian defender Slaven Bilic at the helm of affairs.
The Guardian understands that the 50-year-old has signed a two-year deal with the Baggies, which should keep him at the Hawthorns until the end of the 2020-21 season.
West Brom were without a permanent manager following the dismissal of Darren Moore back in March and the recruitment process for a new manager at the Hawthorns was far from straightforward.
Former assistant manager James Shan took over in a caretaker role following the dismissal of Moore and guided the Baggies to the promotion playoffs, where a penalty shootout defeat in the semi-finals at the hand of Midlands rivals Aston Villa ended their chances of securing a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Preston North End’s Alex Neil, Lincoln City’s promotion-winning manager Danny Cowley, recently-sacked Brighton manager Chris Hughton, as well as widely-revered Bundesliga gaffer Bruno Labbadia were all a part of West Brom’s shortlist for the vacant permanent managerial role but it was former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, who emerged as the standout candidate following a second round of talks with the club. (h/t Guardian)
Bilic enjoyed a successful playing career at Hajduk Split, West Ham and Everton at the club level, whilst also being an integral part of the Croatian side that defied all odds to reach the semi-finals of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. The former defender began his managerial days at his boyhood club Hajduk Split before taking up the head coaching role for Croatia in 2006 following a two-year spell with the U-21 side.
Croatia reached great heights on the international front under the stewardship of Slaven Bilic, with the 50-year-old masterminding home and away victories over England in the qualifying rounds of Euro 2008. Bilic guided Croatia to the quarter-finals of the tournament before eventually losing out to Turkey but that impressive run was enough to mark the nation’s revival and their re-establishment as one of the elites in Europe.
Bilic left the international role following Croatia’s group stage exit in Euro 2012 but he was hailed as a national hero upon his departure. Managerial stints at Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia and Besiktas in Turkey yielded poor returns but Bilic rose to prominence in England as the manager of West Ham in the Premier League.
His time at East London didn’t have the most respectful of endings but Bilic showed his managerial acumen over the course of his two-year spell at West Ham, with the Hammers making it to the qualifying rounds of the Europe League under the Croatian’s stewardship.
He masterminded one of West Ham’s most successful Premier League campaigns in recent years, as the Hammers finished 7th in the top-flight in the 2015-16 season and registered famous victories over Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City.
West Ham broke several records under Bilic, including the most number of points with 62, highest number of goals with 65 and the fewest number of defeats in a single season with 8. Looking back at those numbers, one cannot help but wonder what wonders Bilic would have worked at the London Stadium had the paymasters backed him the way they did Manuel Pellegrini last summer.
To put things into perspective, it is not difficult to see why West Brom have made a massive statement of intent with the appointment of Slaven Bilic at the helm of affairs. Noted for his simple and yet dynamic managerial style, Bilic has shown in the past that he knows how to inspire his players and extract the best out of them with his detail-oriented and pragmatic approach.
Bilic became a firm fan favourite during his first season at West Ham and there is no reason why he can’t emulate that kind of success in the Championship next season. West Brom needed a long-term solution to their managerial woes and the Baggies could well be on their way to the Premier League in the near future with an identity of their own if the Croatian manages to work his magic.
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Nevertheless, they have taken a step in the right direction and Bilic could prove to be the perfect man to take the club’s legacy forward.
Man United would find De Gea’s ideal replacement by signing this Champions League semi-finalist – Agreed?
Manchester United Opinion: United must target Onana if De Gea leaves
According to a recent report by The Sun, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United side are said to have set their eyes on Ajax’s Cameroonian international goalkeeper Andre Onana as a possible replacement for David De Gea, later this summer.
The Spanish veteran has rejected multiple contract offers from United over the last couple of seasons and he now finds himself with just a year remaining on his current deal. Although Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak is being linked with a possible move too, his startling market value will prove too much for United to handle at this stage.
The report suggests that Manchester United are willing to see out David De Gea’s contract and let him leave for free rather than sell him in the summer.
Despite their best interests, if the Spaniard does force a move away from Old Trafford, there probably isn’t much they could do to stop him.
He was heavily criticised for his performances in the last campaign as he made multiple individual errors and blatant mistakes.
Andre Onana is a 23-year-old shot-stopper, who currently plies his trade for last season’s Champions League semi-finalist – Ajax Amsterdam. The youngster was an absolutely pivotal part of their build-up play and his ability to release the ball early helped them in multiple situations as well.
The season that Ajax had last year could only be described as majestic and without Onana’s exploits between the sticks, they wouldn’t have achieved half of what they did. It is being reported that the youngster could be available for a fairly nominal price and considering that he’s only 23, he could fit the bill at United in terms of age as well.
Although Sergio Romero will definitely throw his name into the hat at some
stage, signing Onana would be a massive boost to a team that has depended on their goalkeeper’s heroics to keep them in games at times.
De Gea has been a fan favourite at Old Trafford for a long time now but the time for change could finally be here.
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The Spaniard is 28 now and has shown signs of slowing down over the last season. His performances at the World Cup in Russia were poor and he certainly didn’t help himself with his recent Premier League showings.
Despite this, De Gea has singlehandedly won Manchester United an unbelievable number of football matches. Moving for Onana to replace him would certainly be a shrewd piece of business.
Man City shelling out £5m to activate this former player’s buyout clause would provide excellent competition for Mendy – Agreed?
Man City Opinion: Citizens should activate Angelino’s buy-back clause to ensure quality competition for Mendy
According to Manchester Evening News, reigning Premier League champions Man City are set to bring left-back Angelino back to the Etihad this summer, with reports claiming that the Citizens are considering activating the buy-back clause that they had inserted in the Spaniard’s deal.
Angelino sealed a permanent £5 million move to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven only last summer but Manchester Evening News suggests that the Citizens, who are well aware of his talent and potential, had inserted a clause in his deal which would enable them to bring him back for a fee of around £5 million.
The same source claims that Man City are impressed by the 22-year-old’s rapid development in the Netherlands at PSV Eindhoven and are willing to offer him a chance in their first-team next season, while French champions PSG have also been linked with the highly-rated left-back.
Angelino accumulated as many as 12 assists in 43 appearances for the Dutch heavyweights in all competitions this past season, also featuring prominently in the club’s Champions League campaign, which ended prematurely in the group stages.
The 22-year-old’s scintillating run for form hasn’t gone unnoticed and, as the reports suggest, he might as well be forced to head back to England just after a single season at PSV.
The Spanish U21 international played for Deportivo La Coruna at the youth ranks before joining City’s youth set up in 2012. Angelino featured largely for the club’s youth and reserve sides and spent time on loan at New York City, Girona, Mallorca and NAC Breda.
The talented youngster was eventually handed his first-team debut against Aston Villa in the FA Cup in 2016 and went on to make a total of 3 competitive appearances for the Citizens, featuring in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and also in the EFL Cup.
However, it was pretty apparent that he needed more time to further his development before having a realistic chance of nailing down a regular starting role at City.
Well, it looks as though the left-back has finally managed to impress upon the City hierarchy with his scintillating run of form in the Dutch top-flight this past season.
Realistically speaking, it makes a lot of sense for Man City to bring the Spaniard back to the Etihad this summer, given that lack of stability on the left-hand side of the backline was one of the big talking points from the club’s domestic treble-winning campaign last term.
Benjamin Mendy started off with a bang in the earlier stages of the recently concluded campaign, with the Frenchman accumulating as many as 5 assists in 10 Premier League outings.
However, Guardiola found himself short of cover ever since Mendy was sidelined with a long-term knee injury and the manager had to rotate between the likes of Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko to fill in at an unfamiliar position.
While Delph struggled to find consistency and had his own share of injury problems, Guardiola’s patience with Zinchenko gradually paid rich dividends, as the Ukrainian went from strength to strength and established himself as the first-choice left-back in due course of time.
City would need to sort out their left-back conundrum sooner rather than later, given Mendy’s poor injury record. And bringing back Angelino certainly makes a lot of sense.
The 22-year-old would save Man City a fortune in the transfer market, while his arrival is also expected to add much-needed depth and cover in a key area of the pitch for the Citizens.
The Spaniard has proven his credentials as a modern-day offensive-minded full-back in the Netherlands and City have every reason to look at him as someone who could possibly provide cover and competition for Mendy, thus enabling Zinchenko to play elsewhere in a more familiar role.
Capable of shouldering both attacking and defensive responsibilities effectively, Angelino caught the eye with his immaculate crossing, sharpness, agility and a deadly eye for key passes in the final third.
The 22-year-old averaged 2 key passes, 1.7 crosses, 1.4 dribbles, 2.3 successful long balls, 2.2 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 2 clearances per game in the Eredisivie last season, figures which are an upgrade on Mendy’s 1.2 key passes, 1.1 crosses, 1.6 tackles and 1 interception per game in the Premier League.
Those differences in numbers might have a lot to do with the stylistic differences between the two teams and the quality of the leagues but, in all honesty, Angelino proved that he is good enough to challenge the injury-prone and impetuous Mendy for a spot in City’s first-team.
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As the Citizens look to make it a hat-trick of Premier League triumphs next season, they need to ensure that they have adequate depth in all areas of their squad and bringing back the 22-year-old for a thrifty fee would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Next Roofe in the making? – Leeds United signing this League Two starlet for £250,000 would be a smart move by Bielsa
The 18-year-old is also being chased by a swarm of English clubs namely Sheffield United, Derby County and Wolves. Yet, the Whites remain confident they can win the race by offering him more gaming time.
The 18-year-old broke into Carlisle’s main team in the recently concluded season, making a total of 16 appearances. Despite being used as a substitute, McCarron showed much quality with limited opportunities. A youth product of Cumbrians, the English prodigy has a contract until the end of next season.
Should Leeds United move for McCarron?
After an eventful campaign in Championship, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa needs reinforcements in every aspect.
The attacking line-up turned out to be a let-down for the Argentine manager in the promotion slump and he must mend that before the start of next season.
And with Jack Clarke’s future still hanging in balance as he is wanted by Tottenham, Bielsa can avail the services of League Two teenager, McCarron. United’s primary striker, Kemar Roofe, is also on the radar of Burnley.
A centre-forward by trade, McCarron is also much efficient at the wings. Though he can’t be an assured starter under Bielsa, he can win his chances by showing quick progress in the reserves set-up as Clarke did with the Whites last season.
The former Chile manager is also known for nurturing young talents – Clarke and Leif Davis are some of the best examples. McCarron could soon join the list and can break into the spotlight if he opts to move to Elland Road this summer.
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Leeds wouldn’t be overburdened with a signing like McCarron, who is currently in demand and has a great future ahead.
And the English prospect can follow the footsteps of 26-year-old Roofe, who also rose through the ranks of League Two side Oxford United.
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