18+ | Commercial Content | T&Cs apply | Begambleaware.org
Back-to-back wins in their opening two Premier League games would have had West Brom fans dreaming of an exciting season. But those hopes were soon extinguished.
A club-record winless run in the Premier League followed and Albion went from thoughts of a push for the top eight to attempting to preserve their top flight status for another year.
Manager Tony Pulis paid the price for a miserable first half of the season and diabolical football with his job in December with former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew his successor.
His remit is simple. Keep Albion in the top flight and try to develop a style of play which is easier on the eye and less reliant on set pieces. That will be easier said than done as, despite the cash available, Pulis has left behind a functional and workmanlike squad.
Pardew is known for getting struggling sides going before seeing his impact dwindle. For now all Albion will care about is the first part.
Which areas do West Brom need to strengthen in January and why?
JB: I’m a huge advocate of the virtues of Salomón Rondon up front, and believe that he will start scoring significant amounts of goals under Pardew once our creative players, such as Matt Phillips and Nacer Chadli are back from injury.
However, most Albion fans would suggest our number one priority is a striker. Given that it looks likely that Jonny Evans will be moving to pastures new, we will need to reinvest that money at centre-back, as well as finally finding a proper right-back.
Name three realistic transfer targets you would like West Brom to sign in January and who should they replace in your starting XI?
JB: I’ve seen us linked strongly with Danny Ings and Aleksandar Mitrović as competition for Rondon and Jay Rodriguez up front.
I wouldn’t necessarily be happy with either – owing to Ings' injury (we’ve already got one player in Rodriguez who has lost all physicality owing to his previous injuries) and Mitrović’s fundamental lack of discipline – but I believe both are realistic targets.
Elsewhere, I would like us to look to bring in Ben Gibson to replace Evans.
What is your number one fear for January?
JB: We lose our star performer in Evans and reinvest the profit we make poorly throughout the squad. Whilst Albion need more bodies in to improve their depth, a scattergun approach rarely works in January. Quality and quantity should be the ideal.
What would your dream January transfer window look like?
JB: We keep Evans, and our Chinese owner decides to abandon his tight fiscal policy and pumps significant money into the squad, solving our full-back and attacking depth issues in the process. I can dream, right?