West Bromwich Albion continue their search for Tony Pulis’ replacement, and recent reports suggest that Alan Pardew is a man they have identified as a top target.
The Express & Star reported that Pardew could be in line for an interview with club chairman John Williams, while The Sun indicates that the club’s director of football, Nicky Hammond, has already contacted Pardew.
The Baggies recently sacked Welsh manager Tony Pulis, ending a near-three-year relationship, with the club sat just one point above the relegation zone.
Pardew, meanwhile, has been out of football for almost a year after being let go by Crystal Palace in much the same situation last season.
The 56-year-old Englishman is well-travelled in the English game and was lauded for his efforts to keep Crystal Palace in the Premier League at the end of the 2014/15 season.
That season saw him leave Newcastle United to join Palace and it is largely believed that the positive form that Pardew oversaw at Newcastle also kept them in the top-tier alongside his new team.
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Pardew also made history the following season for Palace, leading them to just their second-ever FA Cup final against Manchester United.
But the promising start Alan Pardew had at Palace faded and he was unable to avoid the axe with the club sitting precariously above the relegation zone.
He has built a reputation for being a strong, stabling manager that can help guide teams away from the drop zone, something that West Bromwich Albion owner Guochuan Lai needs.
Pardew also has a relationship with Nicky Hammond, having worked together whilst he was the manager at Reading in the early 2000s, and could realistically be appointed ahead of the other names linked with the job.
Sam Allardyce and Martin O’Neill have both been linked with the Baggies’ top job since Pulis’ sacking, making the quality and experience of potential managers a positive sign for the future of the club.
Allardyce is currently unattached while O’Neill is still Republic of Ireland manager, having reached the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Playoffs with the nation.
While both managers would make smart choices, Pardew appears to be ahead in the race and could find himself in the job as early as next week.