• Premier League

West Brom appoint Mel as head coach

ESPN staff
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Pepe Mel guided Real Betis to a seventh-placed finish last season © Getty Images
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West Brom have appointed former Real Betis boss Pepe Mel as their new head coach on an 18-month contract.

Steve Clarke was sacked by the Baggies on December 14 and while they might have got their first-choice, it has not been a straight-forward process.

Mel, 50, was in discussions to replace Clarke last month but appeared to have been ruled out of the running after West Brom denied his request to bring in his own backroom staff.

He is said to have watched Albion's Boxing Day draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and he was expected to take over before the New Year only for talks to break down.

And as recently as Wednesday, West Brom looked set to appoint former Werder Breman coach Thomas Schaaf but it is believed the two parties also had disagreements over the coaching staff, while the possibility of a job in the Bundesliga next season led to doubts from the 52-year-old.

Talks between the Baggies and Schaaf were at an advanced stage after two rounds of negotiations, but the German was believed to want to work with former Bremen assistants Wolfgang Roff and Matthias Honerbach, with Albion only willing to allow one to join him - to replace Kevin Keen, who departed with Clarke almost a month ago.

West Brom sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said: "I'm delighted to welcome Pepe to the club. His appointment concludes an extensive recruitment process during which we have cast the net far and wide to identify the most suitable candidate to take the Club forward.

"Pepe was a strong contender from the outset due to his impressive achievements and has emerged as our number one candidate. He is a forward-thinking coach whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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