If former West Brom director Luke Dowling had his way, David Wagner would be preparing to take on Derby County in the Championship tonight rather than Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United in the Champions League.
According to the Express & Star, West Bromwich Albion’s recently departed technical director turned his attention to 49-year-old Wagner after negotiations with number one target Chris Wilder broke down.
But after four years at Huddersfield Town, where he turned a lower-level Championship outfit into a Premier League side against all odds, Wagner obviously felt he needed a new start in a new league.
“I was in the Bundesliga (with Schalke), I was in England. The job here, with this club, appeals to me,” Wagner said after being unveiled as coach of reigning Swiss champions BSC Young Boys two months ago.
“We threw everything we had (at Wagner),” adds Young Boys sporting director Christoph Spycher. “It wasn’t about finances, it was more about the people who work here. About emotions, what you can experience with YB.”
Dowling wanted Wagner at West Brom
And, as Young Boys prepare to face the might of Manchester United at the unfortunately named Wankdorf Arena tonight, it’s hard to imagine Wagner will regret his decision, even if his side have won just two of five Swiss Super League games this season.
According to The Athletic, meanwhile, Dowling had reservations about the man who would eventually get the West Brom job, fearing Valerien Ismael’s direct approach (to tactics and communication) would ruffle feathers at the Hawthorns.
Given West Brom are sitting pretty at the top of the Championship, unbeaten and a point clear of title favourites Fulham, it’s tempting to wonder how things may have looked had Dowling stayed at a club that suffered relegation twice during his tenure?