West Brom technical director Luke Dowling has admitted that he took a flawed approach in his initial transfer dealing at The Hawthorns but has said that lessons have been learned in outlining the club’s market plans for this summer.
He acknowledged that he got it wrong with the players that were brought in during his first transfer window in the role in January 2019 but says that he is now preparing a transfer strategy which accounts for the possibilities of either winning promotion or spending another season in the Championship.
He told Birmingham Live: “Last year, I think we got it wrong. We were only looking at players for the Premier League and probably got ahead of ourselves.
“This time we are trying to be calm. Things will look a lot better if we are a Premier League club but you have to be prepared and have lists for both scenarios. I will admit the list is bigger and better if we are a Premier League club.
“I think the list will change in terms of what we have. When you hear from other clubs and leading agents I think the transfer fees will be reduced as well. I think it is going to be a very different window. I think we will see a real change. It is not just football but every business in the world that is affected.”
In Dowling’s first transfer window at The Hawthorns, with the Baggies chasing promotion, West Brom brought in four players on loan, three of whom (Jacob Murphy, Mason Holgate, Stefan Johansen) were playing in the Premier League at the time and another (Jefferson Montero) who had previously been a top-flight player.
In preparation for another Championship season last summer, the club signed players like Kenneth Zohore, Charlie Austin, Romaine Sawyers and Semi Ajayi, who all had ample experience of the division. Austin has chipped in with nine goals this term while Ajayi has become a fan favourite and was named by Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman in his Championship team of the season.
With six points to spare over third-placed Fulham, the Baggies have every right to be confident of clinching promotion to the Premier League. However, with nine matches still to play, Dowling is right to be mindful of the possibility of falling short in that mission, especially after their 2018/19 near-miss.
Overall, do you think West Brom have done good transfer business since the start of 2019?
It is refreshing to see that lessons appear to have been learned at boardroom level, with The Hawthorns hierarchy equally prepared for strengthening adequately if they go up and cutting their cloth accordingly if promotion eludes them. The latter, less desirable scenario could be even more pertinent given the expected impact of coronavirus on football’s finances.
West Brom fans, are you confident that the Baggies can spend reasonably big if they go up to the Premier League this summer? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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