Former West Bromwich Albion striker Kevin Phillips believes midfielder Robert Snodgrass is being made available to free up wages for arrivals to come in during the January window, speaking to West Brom News.
As per The Sun’s Alan Nixon, the 34-year-old is no longer in manager Valerien Ismael’s plans despite being able to break into the first team after recovering from a severe back injury, starting four consecutive league games between the end of October and start of November.
But despite the Baggies’ lack of depth in central midfield, showcased recently when Jake Livermore and Jayson Molumby were both suspended for the trip to Coventry City earlier on this month, he has reportedly been deemed surplus to requirements and will be able to leave The Hawthorns in January after spending just one year in the West Midlands.
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Making just 14 league appearances for the club during his time at Albion thus far, with six of these coming this season before, he hasn’t had the chance to make his mark.
His cause hasn’t been helped by another back problem that has kept him out recently, although The Athletic’s Steve Madeley has revealed he was unlikely to be considered for selection regardless of his availability.
He has been missing from the matchday squad for the promotion chasers’ last four games.
Focusing more on his potential departure, ex-West Brom forward Phillips believes this reported decision by Ismael to freeze him out of his first-team plans is just as much about potential arrivals as it is the player himself, speaking to West Brom News about the former Scotland international.
He said: “I’ve heard all sorts and there has been a bit of a bust-up.
“If he has been made available then that kind of suggests [there has been] because why would you get rid of an experienced player?
“Maybe it’s a case of freeing up some funds to get someone in on a decent wage. Maybe that’s the issue so they can get one or two new players for the wages Snodgrass is on.
“Only the manager and the player know what’s going on but from the outside looking in, it looks like there’s been a disagreement.
“But when you lose an experienced player in January and you have young players in your squad, it’s a slight gamble.”
Considering Snodgrass arrived at The Hawthorns at a time when Albion were still in the Premier League, he isn’t likely to be on a cheap wage even with potential relegation clauses included, so you can see why his current side may want to offload him.
Added to this, Ismael’s system puts a huge physical demand on his midfielders and with the experienced midfielder potentially not being able to shake off his back problems just yet, a sale could be worthwhile despite his experience in the dressing room.
Many people would excite his experience as to why it would be a gamble to cash in on him at this stage, but Albion need more players like Jake Livermore and Kyle Bartley that can both lead and perform to their potential.
The West Midlands outfit already have plenty of leaders in the middle of the park with captain Livermore and ex-Barnsley skipper Alex Mowatt two of the first names on the teamsheet.
And this could allow Snodgrass to leave, perhaps enabling Ismael to bring in a few signings of his own whilst ensuring the wage bill doesn’t become too hefty for a club now plying their trade in the second tier.