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The Transfer Window so far – West Brom

What they needed?

This was always going to be a difficult window for West Bromich Albion as they bid to follow last season’s remarkable efforts. Not only that, but Steve Clarke’s resources have been severely dented by Romelu Lukaku’s return to Chelsea – replacing his goals on their budget was always going to prove a mission impossible.

The Baggies were the undoubted surprise packages of last year, punching above their weight to an eighth place finish – despite pre seasons predictions that anything beyond a relegation battle would be a strong achievement.

Matching that effort looks a difficult task given that so many other teams around them have invested significant, with the likes of Norwich, Swansea and Southampton all spending heavily. Unfortunately West Brom simply don’t have the financial muscle to make such strides – in truth their budget will be amongst the lowest of the league, which only further enhances last season’s achievements.

With those around them improving and the danger of the slump that can so often happen when a club such as West Brom punches above their weight, there is a real worry that this could be a tough season for the Baggies. With Lukaku’s departure and Peter Odemwingie seemingly having burnt all of the bridges in West Bromwich, there is a genuine lack of striking options at the club. Shane Long is a fine striker but not one who is a heavy scorer.

Further to this, Albion’s squad is particularly thin and should a few injuries strike they could find themselves in real trouble. Encouragingly there are several youngsters coming through such as Craig Dawson, George Thorne and Saido Berahino. Nevertheless you can’t help but feel several quality additions are required this summer. Having worked the window superbly last season, Steve Clarke will need similar magic again this term if the Baggies are to be boinging well clear of relegation trouble.

What they have so far?

Nicolas Anelka is the man who Clarke will hope can take some of the goals lost by Lukaku’s departure, with the Frenchman arriving on a free transfer. He might be at the opposite end of the career spectrum to the Belgian but Anelka certainly knows his way to a Premier League goal. However, at 34 there are doubts over whether he can still cut it or whether or not he still wants it. Having wasted a year last season in China the hope will be that such an experience has reignited something inside Anelka, for if he can find form he should offer a handy return. The Frenchman, though, is certainly one who will test Clarke’s man management skill.

Their only other capture thus far is another veteran, in the form of Uruguayan skipper Diego Lugano. At 32 he brings with him bucket loads of experience and is a wily customer but there are real question marks about his lack of speed – the fear being that he could come a cropper against the pace of the English game. That said should he adapt to the English game he has enough qualities to still be a real asset to the club despite the ageing legs.

What they still need?

Given their budget West Brom are likely to be shopping right up until the window slams shut, so the lack of activity thus far should not come as a significant surprise.

Albion are one of several clubs being linked to taking Scott Sinclair off Manchester City’s hands. The ex-Swansea man has not become a bad player overnight and at West Brom he would get the perfect chance to regain the form that saw him on the verge of an England call up, whilst the pace that he can offer would be of huge benefit to a squad that is lacking in that department.

Soloman Kalou is another player who would help out in this area – offering much needed creativity and an element of the unexpected. The Ivoirian has recently been heavily linked to the Hawthorns and Clarke has spoken of his interest. The worry will be that others with heavier purses are also interested, just as is the case with Sinclair.

Steve Clarke’s dealings are unlikely to be anywhere near done just yet, as he looks to scrape together whatever he can in order to form a club capable of again causing a shock. The transfer window thus far might be worrying for Baggies fans given everyone else’s spending but Clarke proved last term that shrewd work can still match the big spenders. It might seem unlikely that Albion can again reach such heights – but don’t be surprised to see them surpass the pre seasons predictions.