Valerien Ismael is the new manager of West Bromwich Albion after leaving Barnsley.
Ismael, who led the Tykes to a surprise place in last year’s play-offs, moves to the Hawthorns following the Baggies relegation from the Premier League.
Albion agreed to pay £2million to buyout Ismael’s contract at Oakwell, just nine months after his arrival in Yorkshire, to lead their return bid to the top flight in 2021-22.
A Barnsley statement confirmed: “It is with disappointment that Barnsley FC can today confirm Valérien Ismaël has left the club to join Sky Bet Championship side, West Bromwich Albion.
“The 20/21 season will live long in the memory of all those with an affinity to the Reds. The club would like to thank Valérien for his efforts over the last nine months. He and his family will always be welcome at Oakwell.
“The club would also like to thank supporters, players and staff for their patience during this period. Now, continued progression must be ensured, with the recruitment process for a new head coach already underway.
“All proceeds from the buyout of the contract will be utilised to strengthen the squad ahead of the forthcoming season.”
Albion moved for Ismael following the exit of sporting director Luke Dowling – who had seen his move for Chris Wilder to replace Sam Allardyce vetoed by the club’s owner, Lai Guochuan, earlier this month.
Ismael has signed a four-year deal in the West Midlands, having impressed the club’s hierarchy with his the transformation Ismael engineered at Oakwell after succeeding Gerhard Struber in October.
Ismael, 45, has previously Nurnberg and Wolfsburg, as well as in Greece and Austria.
Albion CEO Xu Ke said: “I am delighted to welcome Valérien to The Hawthorns. Valérien has established a reputation as an excellent coach and I have been impressed by his professionalism, enthusiasm and hunger to succeed.
“His performance last season with Barnsley, and his coaching career to date, all point to a man who has a long, successful career in front of him. It is my hope that he is with us for at least the next four years.
“I am confident that by working together we will be able to achieve our goal of returning to the Premier League, but success is earned by building on strong foundations, and our plans must now look further into the future.
“For too long we have focused only on what is immediately in front of us. This means we have often neglected our long-term aspirations.
“We are all aware of what will be required in order to be successful and player recruitment will be of the utmost importance.
“Valérien and I will immediately focus on preparing the squad for the new season, working together with Ian Pearce, our Head of Recruitment, to secure talented transfer targets who will strengthen us for the challenges ahead, ensuring fans are once more proud to support this great club.
“I am excited to be working with Valérien and I am sure we will soon establish a strong relationship that will be to the benefit of the football club and its supporters.”