West Bromwich Albion will head into the new season with the ultimate aim of qualifying for Europe.
West Brom have had a very interesting pre-season so far, but they have resisted the urge to make major changes to the squad as they look for that elusive European place this coming season, which eluded them last time round.
The Baggies will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last season, which saw them as the early pace setters near the top of the league before slipping into inconsistency which eventually forced them down into eighth position.
Steve Clark is a very shrewd and clever manager who will resist the urge to make many changes, which threaten the overall integrity of the team. That should ensure that West Brom have as good a chance as any other side of making the top six.
Nicolas Anelka is the only player West Brom have added to their squad so far this summer, on a free transfer. Anelka is being used to cope with the recent loss of Romelu Lukaku who has gone back to Chelsea, with no chance he’ll be returning on loan.
Anelka has bagged three goals in three games for the team in pre-season, so the early signs are at least good.
Steve Clarke has plenty of cover in all positions at the moment, which suggests that his squad is very close to where he wants it to be.
An extra body in the defence - Diego Lugano has been linked - and a wide man could be targeted before the start of the season but if West Brom started the season right now, they’d stand a great chance of at least repeating their performance from last season.
The fact West Brom have let six players leave so far with just one coming in is a tribute to the current depth in their squad.
Deals Missed Out On
It doesn’t make for pretty reading as far as the players West Brom have been in for and subsequently missed out on.
West Brom had targeted Algerian winger Nabil Ghilas but they were not able to match what FC Porto could offer him in terms of money, as well as chances of domestic success and Champions League football.
The Baggies were also in for Arouna Kone, who went to Everton, as Clarke looked to add further firepower to his attack but the arrival of Anelka has gone some way to compensating for that loss.
West Brom were also in for prolific striker Wilfried Bony who ended up going to Swansea City following a fantastic season with Vitesse Arnhem last year. They also missed out on Dieumerci Mbokani who agreed a move to Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev.
Peter Odemwingie doesn’t seem to have ever been able to repair his reputation at the club since that infamous day when he turned up at QPR’s Loftus Road Stadium looking to force through a move.
Odemwingie has already seen a deal to Dubai side Al Nasr fall through but there is still plenty of time for him to find another club before the new campaign starts.
Jonas Olsson has been linked with several clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and QPR and reports have suggested a £3.5 million offer could get him.
However, the apparent interest stems from months ago which means had the sides apparently in for him, seriously wanted to sign him, surely they would have pushed the deal through already.
Markus Rosenberg has also been linked with moves to Germany and Spain following a frustrating season at the club last year. The club’s sporting and technical director has confirmed the interest.
West Brom haven’t spent any cash so there must be a decent whack of the budget in reserve should Clarke decide that he desperately needs a player in a certain position. The club also haven’t made any money from the players who have so far left so it’s difficult to judge the state of the club’s finances.
Plans to extend the Hawthorns have fallen through which means there should be money there.
West Brom are in a decent, healthy position looking ahead to the new season. The fact they have missed out on so many of their transfer targets shouldn’t be a concern for the fans because there is cover in the squad.
Players could still leave, which would only increase the funds available to the club as Steve Clarke goes about looking to replace those players.
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