Bournemouth hire Andoni Iraola as new manager, hours after announcing Gary O'Neil departure

New Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola, then head coach of Rayo Vallecano, reacts during the LaLiga Santander match between Real Madrid CF and Rayo Vallecano at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 24, 2023 in Madrid, Spain.
(Image credit: Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Bournemouth have appointed Andoni Iraola as their new manager, following the departure of Gary O'Neil.

The Cherries announced that O'Neil would be leaving the Vitality Stadium "in the best interests of the club", following their survival from the Premier League – and have sought to make Iraola the first-ever overseas manager in their history.

Iraola becomes the fourth manager from the Basque Country in the Premier League, too, following Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, Unai Emery at Aston Villa and Julen Lopetegui at Wolves.

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

"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."

Iraola has been at Rayo Vallecano in La Liga for the past three seasons and was reportedly approached by Leeds United this season to replace Jesse Marsch. The Spanish outfit refused to release their manager from his contract, however. 

In his first season managing in the Spanish top flight, Iraola led his side to 12th in La Liga, beating Barcelona home and away, while last season, he beat both Barça and Real Madrid. He has been compared to tactically to the likes of Marcelo Bielsa and usually operates with a 4-2-3-1. 

Bournemouth finished 15th last season.

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