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The free transfers that could give West Brom what they need

West Brom are one of several clubs in England’s top two-flights that are without a manager at the time of writing.

Former England boss Sam Allardyce departed once the Premier League came to an end, leaving Albion to search for their fifth manager in three years.

Despite not having a boss at the helm, Albion oversaw a clear-out at the end of the season which meant departures for the likes of Hal Robson-Kanu, Charlie Austin, Kamil Grosicki, Kyle Edwards, Lee Peltier and Branislav Ivanovic among others.

On the flip side of this, now that the Baggies are a second-tier team – and particularly when considering the uncertainty at senior level at the club – it’ll be harder to attract higher quality players to The Hawthorns during the transfer window.

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The club only have 21 senior players currently contracted to the squad, including four goalkeepers. Their squad depth has taken a big hit with the release of the above players, as well as the four important loan players returning to their parent clubs.

Several names in the Baggies’ team are being linked with move away from the Hawthorns, with Sam Johnstone linked to West Ham and Leeds United recently, and player of the season Matheus Pereira also a target for the Hammers.

There will be some money in the kitty for whoever takes the managerial post with the club; the club ought to have one of the strongest budgets in the division despite relegation thanks to parachute payments and anticipated player sales.

There are, however, some big names who could be secured on a free transfer this summer.

West Brom need to bolster their full-back options, with only one right and left-back current in their ranks. Their backline conceded 76 goals last season, the most in the league during the 2020/21 campaign.

Matheus Pereira is being linked with a host of clubs following West Brom's relegation from the Premier League
Matheus Pereira is being linked with a host of clubs following West Brom’s relegation from the Premier League

In the centre of the pitch, the Baggies currently have four options. Though the Championship experience of Jake Livermore, Robert Snodgrass and Romaine Sawyers is there, another couple additions for depth and creativity is required. Finally, goals win you games and a striker is just what is needed in order to aid their ambition of a Premier League return next year.

There are definitely options in these positions for the club to try and sign, including a few former top-flight stars.

Defenders

Neil Taylor

A left-back with experience of both the Premier League and the Championship. Neil Taylor will be available on a free transfer this summer when his Aston Villa contract expires.

Now 32, the Welshman has been part of the Baggies’ rivals squad since 2017. He might have only featured once for Villa last season, but his experience of both leagues could provide just what West Brom need if they want to finish in the top two next campaign.

Ahmed Elmohamady

Another across the Midlands that is available come July 1 is Ahmed Elmohamady. The 33-year-old is versatile, operating both at right-back and right-wing. This could come as a bonus for the club, especially with the depth needed in the squad for the Championship season.

Elmohamady is no stranger to gaining promotion to the top flight, having won the Championship play-off final with both Villa and Hull City, as well as being a runner-up with the latter in 2013.

Barry Douglas

Another full-back that would add great competition for Conor Townsend at left-back is Barry Douglas. The Scotsman spent last season on loan with Blackburn Rovers, making 30 league appearances for the club.

Former Wolves defender Barry Douglas spent last season on loan at Blackburn Rovers
Former Wolves defender Barry Douglas spent last season on loan at Blackburn Rovers

He is another option that knows how to get out of the league, having won promotion to the Premier League while part of Wolves’ squad in 2017-18 and most recently Leeds United’s team in the 2019-20 season.

Midfielders

Jack Wilshere

A surprise signing for Baggies’ fans if this were to happen. Jack Wilshere will be available on a free transfer after his short return to AFC Bournemouth won’t be extended past June 30th.

Now 29, Wilshere will be determined to show his fitness to any suitors, given his history of injuries. He featured 14 times in the Championship for the Cherries, scoring once.

A move to the midlands could be what both parties need. Wilshere would be competing for a starting 11 place if fit and in form, while West Brom gaining a player with his knowledge and calibre could attract other big names to the club.

The Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion FC.

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Lewis Holtby

A creative midfielder when he has the ball at his feet. Lewis Holtby will be available on a free transfer when his Blackburn contract expires on June 30th.

The 30-year-old has spent most of his career between Germany and England and represented his homeland from U18 level all the way up to the senior team.

His wealth of knowledge and experience could help Bowyer’s squad massively if signed.

John Lundstrum

A no-nonsense midfielder who will give 100 percent for his club. John Lundstrum could join the Baggies on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the month.

John Lundstram is leaving Sheffield United
John Lundstram is leaving Sheffield United

The 27-year-old has spent the last five years with Sheffield United, making 119 appearances during this time. His experience of the league and style of play would also make for a good partner for Livermore in a midfield three or five.

Robbie Brady

An Ireland international and versatile player. Robbie Brady could bring a lot to West Brom if signed this summer.

The 29-year-old, who predominantly plays on the left-wing, can also operate at left-back. If the Baggies were to secure Brady’s signature it would be a great piece of business for them., adding much needed depth and competition for Pereira, Grady Diangana and Matt Phillips.

Forwards

Josh King

A striker, a winger, or a number 10 if need be, utility man Josh King could just be what West Brom need if they want to bolster their ranks ahead of the new season.

The Norwegian will be available on a free transfer on June 30th after his brief stint at Everton will come to an end. He might not have hit the back of the net last campaign, but he definitely has the ability to do so. King, while at Bournemouth, scored 48 goals in five-and-a-half years in the south coast.

Britt Assombalonga

Another brilliant option up top for the Blues would be Britt Assombalonga. The 28-year-old’s five-year stay at Middlesbrough will end when his contract expires this summer, having made over 160 appearances in all competitions over this period.

Assombalonga has vast knowledge of the league, having played for Boro and Nottingham Forest since 2014.

Assombalonga is a proven Championship goalscorer
Assombalonga is a proven Championship goalscorer

Despite only scoring five goals last season, the forward is known to hit double figures in the second-tier, having 75 goals in the Championship since 2014.

Famara Diédhiou

A Senegalese international and solid addition to any second-tier strike force if given the right supply of opportunities. Famara Diédhiou can be prolific up top, having scored 46 goals over five seasons for Bristol City.

The 28-year-old’s stay at Ashton Gate won’t be extended past June 30th, with the forward available on a free transfer then.

His most recent turn out for Robins saw Diédhiou hit the net eight times in the Championship, making him the club’s second highest goalscorer last campaign.

These are just several names who the Baggies could look to sign this summer on a free transfer. Who do you think West Brom should try and tempt to the Hawthorns ahead of next season?



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