Aitor Karanka: Birmingham City confirm Spaniard as new head coach

Aitor Karanka has not managed since leaving Nottingham Forest in January 2019

Birmingham City have confirmed Aitor Karanka as their new head coach.

The 46-year-old has succeeded his fellow Spaniard Pep Clotet, who left the Championship club with four games of the season remaining.

Former Real Madrid defender Karanka has been out of management since a year-long spell in charge of Nottingham Forest ended in January 2019.

Prior to his time at the City Ground, he led Middlesbrough to promotion to the Premier League in 2015-16.

“I’m delighted to be joining a club with the history and fanbase that Birmingham City has,” Karanka told the club website.

“I share the excitement and determination of everyone here to start working together on all the challenges that lie ahead.”

Karanka joins a Blues side that failed to win any of their final 14 league games of the season as they finished two points and two places above the relegation positions.

But his summer transfer funds could be boosted after the club sold Jude Bellingham to Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth up to £30m.

An illustrious playing career and Premier League experience

As a player Karanka won three Champions Leagues with Real Madrid between 1998 and 2002, as well as a La Liga title in 2001.

He was an assistant coach at Real Madrid before taking on his first managerial role at Middlesbrough when he replaced Tony Mowbray in November 2013.

Boro lost the 2015 Championship play-off final to Norwich City but went up to the Premier League automatically 12 months later, however Karanka could not guide the club to safety and was sacked in March 2017, with Middlesbrough relegated at the end of that season.

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He spent just over a year in charge of Nottingham Forest after succeeding Mark Warburton in January 2018, but resigned after a poor run of form over Christmas left Forest four points off the play-off places.

“We have followed his career for a number of years and throughout that time he has always been of prime consideration for the head coach position,” said Birmingham chief executive Dong Ren.

“So we are delighted that Aitor has now joined us and we look forward to working with him for the coming season ahead and future.”



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