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Technical director Luke Dowling meeting Bruno Labbadia about West Brom job

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Technical director Luke Dowling will meet Bruno Labbadia on Monday to speak to him about Albion's vacant head coach role.

Bruno Labbadia. Pic: Wolfsburg

Dowling has been sounding out candidates for the past week and the outgoing Wolfsburg manager is the latest contender to be interviewed.

The 53-year-old is available after walking away from the German club – despite guiding them to sixth place in the Bundesliga and earning them a spot in next season's Europa League.

Labbadia saved Wolfsburg from relegation before they emerged as one of Germany's surprise packages in the season just gone.

Dowling has already spoken to former Brighton boss Chris Hughton and ex-Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic, who was sounded out back in March when Darren Moore was sacked.

Lincoln City boss Danny Cowley is also on Albion's radar, and Dowling is planning to speak to another candidate this week.

However, Labbadia is starting to emerge as a strong contender for the role.

A German of Italian heritage, the former Bayern Munich striker has a 16-year managerial career that has also seen him take charge of Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart, and Hamburg twice.

After the interview process, Dowling will present his findings and recommendations to chief executive Mark Jenkins and Albion's Chinese owners including majority shareholder Guochuan Lai and chairman Li Piyue.

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The technical director is looking for a hungry coach with fresh ideas to help lead the Baggies through an important rebuild this summer.

Albion's parachute payments from the Premier League dwindle from £41.5m to £35m this year and the Baggies' £38m wage bill will need to be trimmed.

Salomon Rondon is expected to leave for his £16.5m release clause, with a number of Premier League clubs interested, including Wolves.

Other big-hitters like Jay Rodriguez, Craig Dawson, Ahmed Hegazi, Matt Phillips, Kieran Gibbs, and Jake Livermore could also be sold.

Out-of-contract teenager Rekeem Harper is also likely to leave, having refused to sign a final contract offer so far.

Albion have already lost six loanees back to their parent clubs and released five senior players, meaning a number of new players will need to be signed.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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