Well, Steve Bruce can’t say the West Brom bosses are not doing what he asked.
In May, as The Baggies limped to a dismal tenth place finish in the Championship, Bruce spoke openly about his desire to add more ‘flair’ and creativity to his Hawthorns ranks. So, enter two of the most gifted forward players in whole of the Championship.
John Swift – provider of 11 goals and 13 assists for a crisis-hit, relegation-threatened Reading side – joined on a free transfer in May. Swift has now been joined in West Bromwich by Jed Wallace, the former Millwall talisman, with Albion successfully fighting off competition from the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Watford and Burnley.
“Jed will be a massive asset to our team,” beams Bruce, via the Express and Star. “I’m absolutely delighted to get him through the door.
“He is somebody who I’ve admired for a long time and have tried to sign before. He’s got pace, power, penetration in the final third and, above all, is a top pro. To have secured our two primary targets in Jed and John Swift is terrific.”
West Brom sign Millwall’s Jed Wallace
With Swift and Wallace through the door, a West Brom side who scored fewer goals than Blackpool, Reading and Stoke City during a torturous 2021/22 should, at the very least, be in contention for a top-six berth during Bruce’s first full season at the helm.
Whether a Burnley side in transition are capable of joining the Baggies in an intriguing promotion battle, however, depends largely on what happens between now and the end of August. It is no secret that Burnley wanted Wallace. And the completion of his move to the Hawthorns represents an early blow to Vincent Kompany’s transfer plans.
But every cloud, as they say, has a silver lining.
The arrivals of Swift and Wallace should bring an end to West Brom’s interest in Scott Twine, the reigning League One Player of the Year. Not that Twine is expected to still be an MK Dons player when the new EFL season kicks off. According to Sun reporter Alan Nixon, Burnley have submitted a £4 million bid. An ‘outstanding‘ set-piece specialist, Twine contributed 20 goals and set up 13 more from his favoured attacking midfield role last term.
“Naturally, you’re going to get that interest. Obviously, given how well he did,” Dons boss Liam Manning tells the BBC. “As it stands, we have not had a bid that meets our valuation of him.”
Whether Burnley are willing to invest more than £4 million in a man who has never played above third-tier level remains to be seen. But with West Brom looking elsewhere, at least Burnley are no longer facing competition from one of the pre-season promotion favourites.