Crystal Palace target Valerien Ismael has not shown any interest in leaving Championship dark horses Barnsley, CEO Dane Murphy tells the Yorkshire Post.
If Palace want a coach capable of dragging the Eagles into the future – a young, forward-thinking, ambitious tactician with an aggressive and high-octane style of football – you can see why Ismael would be right at the top of the list.
Building upon the foundations laid down by Gerhard Struber and Daniel Stendel, the former Wolfsburg and LASK Linz coach has taken an unfancied Barnsley side into the thick of the promotion picture.
The Tykes are currently sixth, just four points adrift of third place Swansea City.
And, according to The Telegraph, Ismael has been added to a shortlist that already includes Frank Lampard and Steve Cooper as Crystal Palace prepare for life after Roy Hodgson.
Barnsley CEO Murphy, however, is clearly not worried just yet.
“There is, of course, going to be interest and suitors for Valerien. But we have him on multiple years and he hasn’t given one iota of a hint that he wants to be anywhere else,” Murphy insists.
“We want to keep him here as long as we possibly can.
“For any coach – especially with Barnsley having the financial model we have – there is ability for movement. But we are so far adrift of anything like that with Valerien. He is so focused on the job in hand and really believes in the project at Barnsley.”
Back in 1998, Crystal Palace paid nearly £3 million for a young Ismael, making the talented centre-back their most expensive ever signing. Just 13 games later, however, he was gone, leaving for Lens after an underwhelming spell in London.
So, with Palace now keen on Ismael the manager, the phrase ‘unfinished business’ comes to mind.