ANDONI Iraola has been appointed manager of Cherries on a two-year deal - but who is the 40-year-old?

Much like the departing Gary O’Neil was in the Premier League, Iraola was the youngest permanent manager in the Spanish top-flight last term.

A seven-time international for Spain, Iraola is currently out of work after departing La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano this summer, rejecting a contract renewal.

Leeds United attempted to appoint the Basque head coach following the dismissal of Jesse Marsh last season, only to be rebuffed by Rayo Vallecano’s release clause.

However, following his departure from the Spanish outfit, there are far fewer complications regarding a potential deal.

Predominantly a right-back during his playing days, Iraola spent most of his career with Athletic Bilbao.

Partly thanks to Athletic’s policy of signing players solely from the greater Basque Country, a region spanning across northern Spain and the south of France, Iraola enjoyed a lengthy career with Los Leones, making over 500 appearances.

After ending his playing career with New York City in Major League Soccer, Iraola took up his first managerial role in Cyprus with AEK Larnaca in the summer of 2018.

He lasted only until January 2019, when he was sacked for going nearly two months without a win.

Second-tier Spanish side CD Mirandes was the next stop of his management journey, joining the newly promoted side in June 2019.

He spent just a year in charge at Estadio Municipal de Anduva, taking Mirandes to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, Spain’s equivalent of the FA Cup.

At the expiry of his contract, Iraola stepped up to become manager of Rayo Vallecano, where he spent three seasons.

In his first season he led Rayo back to the Spanish top-flight via the play-offs, before again reaching the final four of Spain’s national cup competition as he achieved a comfortable mid-table finish of 12th.

Rayo again finished well away from the danger of relegation last campaign, earning an 11th placed finish.

Iraola played under former Cherries managerial target Marcelo Bielsa, a clear influence on his high-pressing style that has earned him praise – and attention.

Only Barcelona and Real Sociedad allowed teams to complete more passes per defensive action (PPDA), an indicator of quickly a team attempts to press and win the ball back from the opposition.

In terms of attacking style, Iraola’s Rayo side get forward at roughly the same pace as Cherries did under O’Neil, both sides with a direct speed of around 1.5m/s, a measure of how quickly a team gets up the pitch with the ball.