If keeping West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League was Tony Pulis’s single objective then it has to be said the former Stoke City boss passed with flying colours.
However, the manner in which survival was achieved rankled with some supporters and across the last campaign there was a growing feeling of discontent amongst the Baggies faithful.
Perhaps then the takeover of the club by a Chinese consortium, fronted by entrepreneur Guochuan Lai, will give Pulis the funds he needs to add a little style to the substance.
Reasons to be cheerful:
The football his teams play may not be to everyone’s taste but Pulis’s teams are difficult to beat and you’d expect the Welshman to make sure West Brom have enough about them to stay clear of the relegation mix.
The takeover, which has dominated talk this summer, is now pretty much resolved which should allow the club to strengthen in the transfer market before the window closes at the end of the month.
Reasons to be fearful:
The summer transfer window closes in just three weeks’ time but the club have hardly done any business so far. The prolonged takeover hasn’t helped matters but Pulis admits club need to strengthen significantly if they are to improve on last season’s 14th place finish.
Saido Berahino looks certain to leave before the window shuts and, while many fans will be pleased to see the back of him, a replacement must be found as he remains the Baggies most natural goalscorer. A deal for West Ham’s Diafra Sakho fell through after the player failed a medical.
Matt Phillips (QPR, £5.5m)
Out the door:
Stephane Sessegnon (released), Victor Anichebe (released), Anders Lindegaard (Preston, free), Callam Jones (Accrington, loan), Josh Ezewele (Yeovil, free), Tyler Roberts (Oxford United, loan), Kyle Howkins (Mansfield, loan).
Claudio Yacob – The Argentinian plays a vital role breaking up play in the Baggies midfield.
One to watch:
Jonathan Leko – The Congo-born England under-17 striker is considered as one of the brightest prospects in the game and, despite his age, will hope to feature in the first team this season.
First five games:
Crystal Palace (A), Everton (H), Middlesbrough (H), Bournemouth (A), Wet Ham (H).
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