Who would make it into a team of the West Brom’s biggest transfer disasters over the last five years?
It is fair to say West Brom haven’t had the best recruits over the last few years. Unfortunately, Premier League football has not always meant quality signings and this issue was only compounded when transfer guru Dan Ashworth left for the FA in 2013.
Every transfer window seems to slam shut with a meltdown over squandered transfer deals or misplaced hope placed in previously unheard-of players. For every gem of a signing like Romelu Lukaku, there has been a Victor Anchiebe and Brown Ideye to follow. So Baggies fans, let’s go down memory lane and remember those signings that left us red with frustration or worse still, forgetting they even existed.
The permanent signing of Ben Foster from Birmingham in 2012 finally filled the goalkeeping void left by Russell Hoult. Baggies fans rejoiced as they would no longer have to endure the wayward kicking of Dean Kiely or the calamities of Pascal Zuberbuler. Sadly, a knee injury ruled Foster out for a majority of the 2015/16 season and Pulis moved to bring in Manchester United ‘keeper – Anders Lindegaard. The Swedish stopper arrived on a free transfer and would act as competition for Boaz Myhill. Lindegaard’s only game for the Albion would come in the disastrous 3-0 Capital One Cup defeat away against Norwich. His forgettable stint was ended with a move to Championship side Preston.
Albion’s defence has been relatively solid over the last five years. Tony Pulis and Roy Hodgson both sought to build from the back but that hasn’t stopped the occasional mistake-prone defender joining. Anyone sitting in The Halfords Lane will know the misery of watching Andre Wisdom ‘bombing’ down the right wing in the first half. His poor positioning and inability to move the ball forwards infuriated fans and he was later dropped in favour of centre-back Craig Dawson.
Sebastian Pocognoli beats off serious competition from Jason Davidson for the left-back role. The Belgium defender epitomised Alan Irvine’s directionless tenure and Tony Pulis avoided playing him at any cost. In tribute to Tony Pulis, Goran Popov plays out-of-position at centre back. The second Macedonian to play for the Albion (following the equally ill-fated Artem Sakiri) was even rasher than Pocognoli. His sending-off for spitting at Kyle Walker was a considerable low-point.
Lining up alongside Popov is former Uruguayan captain Diego Lugano. When he signed on a free transfer Albion fans thought they had a bargain, but his spell at the club was similar to that of Pablo Ibanez. Experience in the top divisions of Europe didn’t help him adjust to the Premier League and Baggies fans soon realised he was terribly error-prone.
This XI’s midfield is filled will players who rarely made it onto The Hawthorns pitch and when they did it was hardly impressive. Yassine El Ghassany arrived at the club as a hot prospect. However, things never quite clicked for the Belgian and he has since drifted into football obscurity. The other three midfielders were brought in under the nightmare reign of Alan Irivine. In a summer that may go down as Albion’s worst, Irvine and his staff went cheap and they bought in quantity not quality.
Samaras and Blanco were anonymous at West Brom and the latter may be the most forgettable signing on the list. Chris Baird did offer the side versatility but he signified Albion’s desire to choose the cheap option rather than actually solving a problem in the side.
There is no shortage of failed strikers to choose from. The goals of Shane Long, Romelu Lukaku, Peter Odemwingie, Saido Berahino and now Salamon Rondon have fortunately masked the failings of other forwards at the club. The most high-profile and controversial of these was Nicolas Anelka. Not only did the Frenchman have a woeful record in front of goal but his ‘Quenelle’ gesture shrouded the club in disgrace. After much excitement at his arrival, West Brom fans were relieved when he left in dishonour after just one season. He is partnered up-front by current Malmo forward Markus Rosenburg. The Swedish striker failed to score a single goal for West Brom and never looked like breaking that duck.
Subs: Lee Camp, Cristian Gamboa, Rickie Lambert, Silvestre Varela, Scott Sinclair, Victor Anchiebe, Brown Ideye.