Luke Dowling’s job as sporting and technical director at West Brom is unlikely to be under threat, according to The Athletic journalist Steve Madeley.
Dowling has come under fire from sections of Albion supporters on Twitter as the poor recruitment drive in the summer has played a major role in the club’s current perilous position in the Premier League.
However, Madeley reports that Dowling has had his success stories at The Hawthorns in the last few seasons and that due to a lack of football men on Guochuan Lai’s board, it’s unlikely that they’ll want to get rid of someone of his expertise.
When asked about Dowling’s future, Madeley wrote on The Athletic website: “As always, the unknown element is what the view is back in China of what is happening on the ground in the UK. While Guochuan Lai and his business partners have very little day-to-day involvement in the running of the club, they have made final calls in the past on the hiring and firing of senior figures.
“I would be surprised if Dowling’s position comes under serious scrutiny. His name is above the door, so to speak, so he has to take ultimate responsibility for all recruitment, which has been hit and miss in the past couple of years.”
He added: “Also, the football expertise on the board is limited, so it is difficult to see who makes a big call like changing a sporting and technical director unless word comes down from China.”
Hit and miss
For every good signing Dowling has overseen at West Brom, there’s been one or two bad ones.
From what we’ve seen so far, the recruitment last summer wasn’t thought out well at all.
Lai’s lack of investment in the Albion meant that Dowling and Slaven Bilic had a shoestring budget to work on but most of that budget was blown on signing Grady Diangana, who has struggled to meet expectations in the Premier League after a successful loan spell at The Hawthorns in the Championship.
According to Madeley, Branislav Ivanovic, Filip Krovinovic and Karlan Grant were all signings who Bilic pushed for and it would be fair to say that none of them have performed well enough in the top-flight, with Krovinovic already leaving.
Dowling had a tough job of keeping Bilic happy and signing players who he thought would be good enough for the Premier League.
Conor Gallagher has done well on loan at West Brom but the signing of Cedric Kipre was simply bizarre and a real waste of resources even though the defender cost no more than £1million when he joined from Wigan.
Dowling didn’t work well with Bilic, it seems. They weren’t on the same wavelength in regards to Krovinovic, Kipre and Ahmed Hegazi but there were more encouraging signs in January.
Since Sam Allardyce appointment as manager, Robert Snodgrass, Mbaye Diagne, Okay Yokuslu and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have come in. So far, none of them seem like terrible pieces of business but the short-termism at The Hawthorns is very clear to see in those four arrivals.
In other West Brom news, Kevin Phillips backs this Albion player to seal a “magnificent move” away from The Hawthorns.