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West Brom keen on Lescott

ESPN staff
June 18, 2014
Joleon Lescott is available as a free transfer after being released by Manchester City © Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion are in talks with Joleon Lescott as new head coach Alan Irvine hopes to make the former England defender his first signing.

Lescott is available on a free transfer after being released by Manchester City and has also attracted an offer from last season's FA Cup finalists Hull.

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But Irvine, who coached Lescott in his days as Everton's assistant manager, is confident the 31-year-old will join him at The Hawthorns.

"Joleon has said he'd be more than happy to work with me again," said Irvine. "I believe negotiations are going very well."

Lescott, who has also been linked with Stoke, became the third most expensive centre-back in history when City paid £22 million for him in 2009 and was a regular in his first three seasons at the Etihad Stadium. But he lost his place in the starting XI, first to Matija Nastasic and then Martin Demichelis, and only started eight league games as City won the Premier League title last season.

Any move to West Brom would be controversial as Lescott, who has been capped 26 times by England, previously played at Black Country rivals Wolves.

Former Preston and Sheffield Wednesday manager Irvine had been in charge of Everton's academy and was a surprise choice to take over at The Hawthorns. But he added: "I am absolutely delighted to be here. It was a couple of weeks ago I first heard there was an opportunity and I got more excited as it got closer."

Albion have preferred to employ head coaches rather than managers in more overarching roles. Irvine said that suited him and that he had played a significant role on the training ground during his years working with David Moyes at Goodison Park.

"My passion is for coaching first and foremost, he said. "As David's assistant I was heavily involved. I am extremely thorough, hard-working and diligent."

Pepe Mel left West Brom after a brief reign when he won only three of 17 games in charge and while Irvine's appointment met with a negative reaction from some supporters, he said: "Results are how you should be judged. You stand or fall by results."

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