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Similarities exist between Pochettino and leading West Brom target

With Pepe Mel drifting to 10/1 to be the next West Brom manager after negotiations broke down between the two parties, the Baggies have turned their attentions to somebody else with vast experience of managing in Spain.

It is former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay that heads the betting to be the next West Brom manager at 13/8, but it is the relatively unknown Jose Luis Mendilibar that may be the actual front runner at 5/2.

There is speculation that talks have already taken place, with Mendilibar doing solid jobs in his latest two posts at Valladolid and Osasuna.

After helping Valladolid to promotion to La Liga in his debut season, he then kept them up in the two campaigns that followed, before being given the axe midway through the next.

Then at Osasuna, he ensured the club climbed the standings from the relegation zone to mid-table in his first half-season at the club and in the next campaign they finished seventh, before another season avoiding relegation.

Defeats in the first three games of the 2013/14 campaign resulted in him being sacked.

His results at Osasuna largely mirror those achieved by current Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino when he was employed by Espanyol before heading to St Mary’s.

Pochettino helped the club improve from third-bottom to 10th in his opening half-season in charge and then oversaw them finish 11th in the following campaign. Then a poor start of nine points through 13 games caused him to be sacked.

It is no guarantee that Mendilibar will bring the same transformation to West Brom that Pochettino has to Southampton if being named as manager, especially given his Osasuna teams were never frequent scorers and instead were set up to be hard to beat.

But with West Brom only two points clear of the relegation places, Mendilibar has shown with Valladolid and Osasuna that he can keep a team in a top division and this is what the Baggies will be demanding in the short term at least.