West Brom set for talks with outgoing Wolfsburg manager Bruno Labbadia
Albion are set to hold talks with experienced German manager Bruno Labbadia in the coming days.
The 53-year-old guided Wolfsburg to sixth place in the Bundesliga in the season just gone, earning them qualification to the Europa League after saving them from relegation the season before.
He announced in March he was leaving Wolfsburg at the end of this season when his contract runs out and will now be available this summer.
An experienced head coach who has managed in Germany for the past 16 years, Labbadia has also taken charge of Darmstadt, Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart, and Hamburg twice.
His reputation took a hit during his second spell at Hamburg but was rekindled at Wolfsburg.
He took over in February 2018 when Wolfsburg were in danger of relegation, and kept them up that season before transforming them in the campaign just gone.
Reports in Germany claim he already has an offer from former club Hamburg to return for a third spell and is also interesting Chinese clubs.
But the Baggies are expected to speak to him in the coming days about their vacant head coach role.
Technical director Luke Dowling has drawn up a shortlist of four, with Lincoln City boss Danny Cowley and former Brighton manager Chris Hughton also among the contenders.
Cowley remains a person of interest, although Lincoln announced they had received no ‘official approach’ yet.
Labbadia had an impressive 20-year playing career as a striker, scoring 103 goals in 328 games for a number of clubs including Bayern Munich. He won two caps for Germany.
A German of Italian heritage, he has never played or managed outside of Germany.
In March, Labbadia told Wolfsburg he was leaving at the end of the season.
He said: “I’d like to thank the club, but especially the team, for the fantastic and intensive past few months.
“I’ve thought a lot about the future in recent weeks and have now come to the decision to leave VfL Wolfsburg in the summer.
“It would only be productive and sensible to continue working together if there was a systematic, professional discussion involving the sporting management over the course of the entire season.
"I have come to this decision as our ideas do not align with each other 100 per cent.
“The coaching staff wanted to let the players know of the decision personally and we chose to do that before the international break.
"Now we’re focusing on putting our all into the final games of the season to finish the campaign successfully.”
Managing Director Jörg Schmadtke: “The timing of Bruno Labbadia’s decision surprised us because we wanted to have the planned open-ended discussion we had agreed on. It’s a shame that is no longer the case, but we respect his decision.”