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Real Betis coach Pepe Mel has emerged as the clear favourite to take over as manager of West Bromwich Albion.
The Baggies are thought to have already held initial talks with the Spaniard as they search for a replacement for the sacked Steve Clarke.
The 50-year-old, who has been in charge of nine clubs since 1999, was expected to have been present at Albion’s 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Boxing Day but it has since been reported he was not at White Hart Lane.
However, he is still very much in pole position for the job and is set to be appointed in the coming days.
Mel, who is a respected coach having worked at the likes of Getafe, Rayo Vallecano and Alaves in La Liga, appears to be the prime candidate ahead of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Ralf Rangnick and Roberto Di Matteo, who were all previously linked with the vacant position.
Keith Downing has been in caretaker charge for the past two games is expected to stay in the role for Saturday’s clash against West Ham but he has admitted that a permanent appointment should be made as soon as possible.
“There is a lot of speculation,” he said. “The players have given me everything, but the uncertainty is in the back of their minds. The quicker they do it the better but having said that it has to be the right one.
“I have always said I would be there supporting as best I can until they make the correct one.”