They are two of the managerial jobs most discussed so far this summer with names a plenty linked with both Crystal Palace and West Brom since their previous managerial appointments announced they were finishing at the end of the season.
You would have hoped – certainly if you were a fan of either of those clubs – that decisions would have been taken by now but both seem to be dawdling over the appointment of new names with plenty of names in the frame including that of our own Steve Cooper.
Cooper was instilled as favourite for the Palace job almost before the words “I’m done” had come out of Roy Hodgson’s mouth whilst the link with West Brom always felt more tentative but it was a link nonetheless. It went on throughout our play off campaign and reports surfaced after (from the much quoted but rarely right Alan Nixon) that his representatives had two meetings with Palace in the lead up to the play off final.
An appointment was looking imminent but the longer it goes on the less likely it seems to be happening. Or more to the point the more likely scenario that Palace have a first choice and Cooper is lined up behind them should that fail. That first choice seems to be former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo – an interesting link and one that still seems an unlikely fit despite it clearly having legs. Hands up if you thought when Santo left Wolves that Palace was a likely destination? I don’t imagine that’s too many of you with hands raised.
But where does this leave Cooper? Is he sat by the phone (not literally but in a proverbial sense) waiting for a call that Santo is out of Palace’s reach or is he sat waiting just to see if there are other managerial moves about to happen as a result of a few clubs in search of new managers?
West Brom appear to be heading in the direction of former Huddersfield manager David Wagner, ironically one of the names suggested for Swansea should Cooper move on. Wagner is reported by Sky Sports News to be maybe within 48 hours of an appointment “If final negotiations go smoothly” so that could be one role out of the reach of Cooper.
So if Palace ended up with Nuno and West Brom with Wagner where does that leave Cooper? Journalist Alex Crook told Talksport on Monday when asked about the Palace links “I’m told privately Cooper feels that he’s taken Swansea as far as he can and would relish that challenge.
“We know that Palace have been in talks with Nuno Espirito Santo, interest from Everton maybe is clouding the issue there. Eddie Howe has been mentioned, I’m told that he isn’t interested in Selhurst Park and that Sean Dyche is likely, at this stage, to stay at Burnley.
“So, possibly, all roads for Crystal Palace now lead to Steve Cooper.”
The first part of those quotes is the interesting one if Cooper does believe he has taken us as far as he can (which incidentally is the same place we were when he arrived two years ago) and we can only assume that behind the scenes at the Liberty discussions are taking place directly with Cooper about his future.
Whatever happens though the move needs to be quick, there are only just over 8 weeks until the start of the new season.