Q&A | Ian Pearce on new role, summer plans & ‘close’ Carlos Corberán relationship

An image of Ian Pearce (left) stood next to Chris Brunt (right)

Albion’s new Head of Football Operations Ian Pearce has outlined his plans for the summer and opened up on his strong relationship with Carlos Corberán in his first interview since taking the role.

The former defender, who won the Premier League as a player at Blackburn Rovers, takes up the role having previously led the Baggies’ scouting department.

Pearce will oversee all football operations, working closely with Head Coach Corberán, and Managing Director Mark Miles, who will assume the duties of departing CEO Ron Gourlay.

And you can read what Ian had to say on his appointment, Albion’s strategy for the upcoming transfer window, and much more, in the Q&A below.

Q: How excited are you to be taking on your new role?

“I’m delighted, it’s a really good opportunity and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I’ve been in football a long time, as a player and in recruitment. It’s always been an ambition of mine to be the best I can be and to do as well as I can. This is another step up, but I’ve been doing parts of this role already. Now it’s time to crack on and give the role absolutely everything I have.

“I’d also like to say a big thank you to Ron. I'm indebted to him because we worked closely together and I have learned an awful lot from him.

“My focus now is on our plans for the summer, so we can provide Carlos with the tools he needs to coach a highly competitive team next season.”

Ian Pearce enjoys a close relationship with boss Carlos Corberán

Q: Can you give us an insight into what your new responsibilities will include?

“Anything to do with football at the club, I’ll have my hands on it. I’ll be reporting into Mark Miles and the rest of the board constantly to update them on our progress, with the aim of moving things forward this season.

“We’re in a position where, like most clubs in the Championship if we’re being honest, we need to make sure that the club’s healthy. Players will leave the club, but we’re also looking to bring in players that Carlos feels can push us forward into a very important season.

“I understand that there are concerns and frustrations, but this is going to be an important summer where we’ll hopefully put together a squad of players that Carlos thinks he can utilise and push for promotion.

“I want to make sure that my relationship with Carlos remains strong and continues to grow.”

Q: What are our transfer plans for this summer?

“We need to match the coach’s ambitions for doing the best we can, and trying to build a team that can push for the promotion and play-off places in what is a competitive league.

“In Jed Wallace, John Swift and Okay Yokuslu, I believe we signed the three best free transfers last year. This summer we’ll be looking at that market again and seeing what’s available, but we’ll be utilising the loan market too – which is very important for teams in the Championship and can be a good tool for progression.

“We’ll be assessing both of those markets. And another example of business we’d like to do is Brandon Thomas-Asante, who has been brilliant for us and built a good connection with the fans. We’ll be looking for those types of signings as well.”

Brandon Thomas-Asante notched nine goals last season, while John Swift racked up 10 assists

Q: You’ve mentioned your good relationship with Carlos. How important will that be going forward?

“It’s imperative. If you haven’t got a good relationship with the coach, it’s just not going to work. You need to have trust in each other. Fortunately, from the moment Ron and I met Carlos during the recruitment process, we have had an excellent working relationship.

“The main thing in any line of business, but especially in football, is being able to build solid relationships, form trust and feel comfortable working with people. We’re pulling in the same direction and have similar ideas.

“Carlos has got an unbelievable desire and I’m confident he can make us the best team we possibly can be. He wants to help every single person - not just players but also staff members like myself and his coaches - to attain the highest standards we can.

“You have to jump on that train he’s on. If you don’t then you’re not helping him create the best atmosphere and environment for the team to flourish.”

Q: And finally, are you looking forward to continuing your work alongside Managing Director, Mark Miles?

“I’m definitely looking forward to working with Mark. He’s been at the club for 20 years and has its best intentions at heart, as well as a wealth of experience. I spent a lot of time with him all the way through last year.

“What’s important to me is that, whenever I’ve spoken to him, he is absolutely driven to do what’s best for the club.

“Moving forward, I think we’ll continue to have a good relationship and strive to do whatever we can to make continual improvements.”