Bournemouth have appointed Andoni Iraola as their new manager after sacking Gary O’Neil; The Cherries parted company with O’Neil despite keeping the club in the Premier League; Spaniard Iraola has signed a two-year deal following the expiry of his contract at Rayo Vallecano
18:30, UK, Monday 19 June 2023
Bournemouth have appointed Andoni Iraola as their new manager after sacking Gary O’Neil.
Spaniard Iraola, who was previously wanted by Leeds, was available after completing a three-season spell in charge of LaLiga side Rayo Vallecano.
Iraola oversaw an 11th-place finish at the Madrid-based club last season and earned promotion to the top flight in his first campaign in 2021.
Cherries chairman Bill Foley said: “We are so pleased to welcome Andoni to the club. With his contract in Spain expiring this summer, we wanted to act quickly.
“He was highly sought after by other clubs across the continent and his style of play has been a major factor in making this decision.
“His performances in Spain have certainly been very impressive and we are confident that he is the right man to lead our next chapter.
“We have identified a number of targets in the transfer market who, together with our January additions, will complement our strong squad to give Andoni the best chance to consolidate our Premier League status and continue progress.”
His appointment comes after O’Neil’s departure was announced earlier Monday. He took over as interim head coach following the firing of Scott Parker in August and was given an 18-month deal in November.
He picked up 36 points during his time in charge and guided the club to 15th place in the Premier League, with many believing him to be a candidate for manager of the year.
Bournemouth owner Bill Foley explained the decision that “we have identified a number of significant targets in the transfer market” and “this change in direction will give us the best platform to build from”.
“Gary will go on to have a long career as a head coach or manager, but we feel that at this time a change is in the best interests of this football club. I would like to extend my thanks to Gary and wish him all the best for the future.”
Analysis: Iraloa will be seen as an exciting coup for Bournemouth
Sky Sports News’ Mark McAdam:
“It’s come as a big surprise, this story. The club clearly didn’t feel Gary O’Neil was the right man to take them forward next season despite keeping them in the Premier League and picking up 39 points in the process .
“They wanted someone who could take on the DNA of the club and push the club forward. They have hugely ambitious owners who spent £100m buying the club last November. They invested £75m in [January] transfer window to invest in new players and they wanted a new head coach who they believed could take the club to the next level.
“Iraola has five years of managerial experience, two of them recently in LaLiga where Rayo Vallecano finished 11th and 12th. He also took them from the second division to the top flight.
“He is clearly a manager with the ability to game plan and tactically masterclass to win games against some of the best teams in LaLiga and Europe.
“He is also a manager who has been watched by a number of other Premier League managers and coaches. There are many people who see Iraola as the future of football, he is only 40 years old and does not have a lot of experience, but he has been in charge for five years.
“When you look at his teams and the way they play, the exciting nature of what they do, the style and identity in the way he sets up his sides, he’s clearly a manager that a lot of other clubs were interested in .
“Leeds approached Rayo Vallecano in February but they were rebuffed. Iraloa didn’t want to leave a club during a season, he wanted to wait until the summer. He didn’t renew his contract, he had interest from Monaco and Marseille as well.
“This will be seen as a really exciting coup for Bournemouth. The players will be back in a few weeks for the start of pre-season and they will have a new manager to work with.
“You have to remember that in Bournemouth’s 124 year history they have never appointed a foreign manager so they are going in a completely different direction with this appointment.
“The [the fans] will look at this as a great new adventure… they will be excited about the future and they will see with this decision how it has been done, the impact Bill Foley has had on this club, they can see that these guys means serious.
“This is a Bournemouth train heading in an exciting direction.”