Enzo MarescaEmbed from Getty Images
Among Albion and football fans alike, Enzo Maresca is better known for his time playing, not managing. He started his playing career at the Baggies, scoring five goals in 47 appearances from midfield. After two years, he then moved to Italian giants Juventus for a then-club record fee of £4.3m.
His most impressive stint, however, came in La Liga between 2005 and 2009 with Sevilla. He made 96 appearances for the club, scoring 13 goals in the process. In his first season, he made 11 appearances as Sevilla went on to win the UEFA cup, scoring three goals, including two in the final against Middlesbrough.
His managerial career so far, however, has been understated. After short periods as a coach with Sevilla and Ascoli, Maresca became assistant manager under Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham, a post he oversaw for 18 months. It was during this role where it became clear he was very tactically astute. In fact, it is thought Pellegrini often left Maresca to create tactical analysis reports of West Ham’s opponents.
Maresca has said so himself: “Coaching is all about the game, tactical, technical, preparation, analysing the opponent, analysing how we can try to beat them, how to find a way to improve our players and team”, Maresca told Manchester Evening News.
As for his current role as manager of Manchester City’s elite development squad, Maresca’s managerial credentials continue to come to the fore. His side have produced a number of eye-catching displays, including a 7-2 thrashing of Liverpool and a 6-1 destruction of Leicester City.
As with Ismaël, Maresca’s age and youthful-yet-promising managerial career seemingly fits what Albion want. There is no doubt that there would serious question marks about his ability to take on a recently-relegated Premier League side and take them straight back up. Former Albion manager, Slaven Bilic, claimed it was one of the hardest things he has ever done.
Indeed, the Championship is a notoriously difficult league to get out of – just look at the former Premier League clubs still trapped in the abyss; Birmingham City, Sunderland, Stoke.
While Maresca’s signing would be a huge risk, it could also be one to yield great rewards if Maresca continued on the same trajectory.