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Zola ticks plenty of boxes as ideal candidate for West Brom gig

Not that he knew it at the time, but West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace’s decision to relieve Steve Clarke of his managerial duties over the weekend could not have come at a much better time, with Gianfranco Zola now on the market to replace him.

Zola ticks many of the boxes that appear to make him an ideal fit for the Hawthorns and even though he is the favourite to be the next West Brom manager at 3/1, this price may still prove lucrative.

A poor win percentage in 2013, which amounted to 31 points from 34 Premier League games, was the reason ultimately that Clarke was placed on gardening leave at West Brom, although the transfer market frustrations he aired in the final days of the summer window clearly didn’t aid his long-term prospects either.

Working within the club’s structure is one of the necessities to taking on a job at West Brom, as coaching expertise is arguably more important than managerial experience.

After all, this was Clarke’s first full managerial role and even when Roberto Di Matteo was in charge previously, he came with minimal experience from MK Dons.

Zola comes with obvious experience of working within a structure from his time at Watford, especially in the earlier months amid the raft of loanees that arrived from Spain and Italy.

Yet, he still got them playing with a great swagger and in an attacking, stylish way. After all, no team scored more Championship goals that Watford in the second tier last season.

Things were not going as swimmingly at Vicarage Road this term, with Watford winless in nine league games. However, they are still within easy range of mounting a play-off assault over the second half of the campaign.

It shouldn’t be forgotten either that last season’s top scorer at Watford Matej Vydra left the club, while essential midfielder Almen Abdi has started only five league games in the current campaign because of injury.

It is unquestionable that Zola would get West Brom playing the type of football that the fans would be pleased with and there is every reason that he would also strike a positive chord with the players.

Furthermore, the fact that no compensation will now be needed to bring Zola to the Hawthorns is a big plus to his chances, as this is not something that will appeal to Peace.

Di Matteo did a more than solid job at West Brom in his first stint and has since added the Champions League to his resume from his time at Chelsea.

The next West Brom manager odds have a Di Matteo return priced at 7/1, with Glenn Hoddle’s penchant for attacking football and coaching experience making him an interesting contender at 16/1.

Looking at those at slightly longer odds, Sean Dyche has done commendable jobs at both Watford and Burnley and may well deserve a shot in the Premier League. Dyche is 25/1 in the West Brom betting.