West Brom's search for a successor to Steve Clarke has reportedly led the club to ex-Real Madrid youth product and Spanish journeyman Pepe Mel.
The 50-year-old last managed Real Betis, but Sky Sports News reports that Mel is now ready for a switch from his native Spain, with a Premier League appointment on the cards:
Sky sources: West Brom hold talks with former Real Betis coach Pepe Mel #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 27, 2013
Sky sources: Mel among at least three candidates being considered by West Brom - more on #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 27, 2013
UPDATE: Friday, Dec. 27, at 7:55 p.m. BST
From Chris Lepkowski of The Birmingham Mail:
#wba have formally ended their interest in Mel - they claim he won't fit into Albion's structure.— Chris Lepkowski (@chrislepkowski) December 27, 2013
---End of Update---
The Baggies have been without a helmsman for a fortnight now and are without a win in their last eight matches, four points off the bottom of the English top flight.
Mel is no stranger to the idea of a relegation scrap, however, considering he was shown the door at Real Betis on Dec. 2, with his side rooted to the bottom of La Liga and winning just two matches in the 2013/14 league campaign.
The Telegraph duo of John Percy and Paul Hirst recently reported that Mel was alleged to have been on hand for the Baggies' Boxing Day trip to Tottenham and will sign on the dotted line in the coming days.
An excerpt from the article reads:
The 50-year-old has been interviewed twice by the Albion hierarchy and is set to agree an 18-month deal after their game at West Ham United on Saturday.
He has never worked in England before and was sacked by Betis after a disappointing start to the season.
The tactician will have undoubtedly liked some aspects of what he saw, too, after the West Midlands outfit managed to come away from North London with a point following their 1-1 draw.
Would Mel be a good appointment for West Brom?
West Brom's sacking of Clarke was a controversial one given that the Scot had done such a fine job in his maiden campaign at the Hawthorns, leading the club to a very respectable eighth-place finish in the Premier League.
However, the lack of a cutting edge has hurt the club this time around, West Brom drawing more games than any other side in the English top flight (eight).
What's more, three of the club's seven losses this term have been decided by a margin of just one goal, showing just how close the side have been to a season of altogether more positive proportions.
This is emphasised by the fact that West Brom, 15th in the table, have the same goal difference as eighth-place Spurs.
With that in mind, Mel would have an attractive proposition on his hands and one that could be turned around with a successful January transfer window.