Bournemouth: Cherries appoint Spanish coach Andoni Iraola as new manager after sacking Gary O'Neil

Bournemouth have appointed Andoni Iraola as their new head coach after sacking Gary O'Neil; the Cherries parted company with O'Neil despite him keeping the club in the Premier League; Spaniard Iraola has signed a two-year deal following the expiry of his contract at Rayo Vallecano

Sky Sports' Mark McAdam reacts to the appointment of Andoni Iraola as AFC Bournemouth's new manager after the sacking of Gary O'Neil

Bournemouth have appointed Andoni Iraola as their new head coach after sacking Gary O'Neil.

Spaniard Iraola, who was previously wanted by Leeds, was available having recently ended a three-season spell in charge of LaLiga side Rayo Vallecano.

Iraola oversaw an 11th-place finish at the Madrid-based club last season, earning promotion to the top tier in his first campaign in charge in 2021.

Cherries chairman Bill Foley said: "We're so excited to welcome Andoni to the club. With his contract in Spain coming to an end this summer we wanted to act quickly.

Image: Andoni Iraola's attractive style of football has impressed at LaLiga side Rayo Vallecano

"He was highly sought after by other clubs across the continent, and his style of play has been an important factor in making this decision.


"His achievements in Spain have certainly been very impressive, and we're confident that he is the right man to lead our next chapter.

"We have identified a number of targets in the transfer market, which along with our January additions will supplement our strong playing squad to give Andoni the best chance to consolidate our Premier League status and keep progressing."

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Following the news that Gary O'Neil has been sacked by Bournemouth, watch Jamie Carragher praise the job of O'Neil during Monday Night Football.

His appointment comes after O'Neil's departure was announced earlier on Monday. He took over as interim head coach following the sacking 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 a 15th-placed finish in the Premier League, with many believing he was a Manager of the Year candidate.

Explaining the decision, Bournemouth owner Bill Foley said "we have identified a number of significant targets in the transfer market" and "this change in direction will provide us with the best platform from which to build".

"Gary will go on to have a long career as a head coach or manager, but we feel that, at this moment in time, a change is in the best interests of this football club. I would like to place on record 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 that Gary O'Neil was the right man to take them forward next season despite keeping them in the Premier League and notching up 39 points in the process.

"They wanted someone who could take on the club's DNA and push the club forward. They've got hugely ambitious owners who spent £100m to acquire the club in November last year. They invested £75m in the [January] transfer window to invest in new players and they wanted a new head coach they felt could take the club to the next level.

"Iraola has five years of managerial experience, two of those recently in LaLiga where Rayo Vallecano finished 11th and 12th. He took them from the second division to the top-flight too.

"He's clearly a manager with the ability to put up a game plan and tactical masterclass to win games against some of LaLiga and Europe's best sides.

"He's a manager as well that has been watched by a number of other Premier League managers and coaches. There are a lot of people who look upon Iraola as the future of football, he's only 40-years-old and doesn't have a vast amount of experience, but he has been managing for five years.

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"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 his sides up, he's clearly a manager a lot of other clubs were interested in.

"Leeds approached Rayo Vallecano in February, but they were knocked back. 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 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 couple of weeks for the start of pre-season and they'll have a new manager to work with.

"You have to remember, in Bournemouth's 124 years of history, they have never appointed a foreign manager so they are going in a completely different direction with this appointment.

"They [the fans] will be looking on this as an amazing new adventure… they will be excited about the future and they'll see with this decision, the way it's been done, the impact Bill Foley has had on this club, they can see these guys mean business.

"This is one Bournemouth train that is headed in an exciting direction."

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