Claudio Ranieri a step closer to succeeding Roy Hodgson at West Brom
CLAUDIO Ranieri is emerging as a serious contender to take over at West Bromwich Albion after a second round of talks on Thursday.
Ranieri, the former Chelsea and Inter Milan manager, was summoned for an interview at Albion’s London office and met Jeremy Peace, the chairman, and sporting and technical director Dan Ashworth.
The 60 year-old has been out of work since being sacked by Milan in March but could make his return to the Premier League for the first time since May 2004, when he was replaced at Stamford Bridge by Jose Mourinho.
Albion are intent on naming a new manager by next week and are also interested in Birmingham’s Chris Hughton, though an approach has still not been made to their Midlands neighbours.
Birmingham have made it clear any attempt to lure Hughton away from St Andrew’s will be met with hostility, despite their off-field financial problems.
And Ranieri, who first met West Bromwich Albion officials a fortnight ago, is now a leading contender to replace Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns.
Paul Lambert, the highly regarded Norwich City manager, has ruled himself out as a candidate for the Aston Villa job, insisting he is happy at Carrow Road.
Lambert, 42, is rated as one of the brightest managerial prospects in British football after leading Norwich to back-to-back promotions before steering them to a 12th-place Premier League finish.
“Never once have I not felt wanted here,” Lambert said.