Ex-West Bromwich Albion striker Kevin Phillips believes ‘only time will tell’ if the previous transfer window has been a good one for the Baggies, admitting he would have wanted to see another winger and forward arrive at The Hawthorns in the summer in an interview with West Brom News.
These comments come amid Valerien Ismael’s shortage of options at centre-back after seeing Matt Clarke ruled out for the next month in August and Dara O’Shea pick up a nasty-looking injury for the Republic of Ireland against Portugal last week.
As per the Birmingham Mail, the latter’s ankle is so swollen that specialists are currently unable to properly assess the 22-year-old until it goes down, perhaps foreshadowing an extended period of time on the sidelines.
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The Baggies have already moved to improve this current crisis at the heart of defence, with former Sheffield United man Kean Bryan undergoing a medical yesterday ahead of his move to The Hawthorns after previously being one of the West Midlands side’s top targets at the start of the summer.
With manager Ismael operating with three in central defence, he recruited the currently-injured Clarke on a season-long loan deal from Brighton & Hove Albion, along with fellow Seagull Jason Molumby, former Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt, released Sheffield Wednesday winger Adam Reach, youngster Quevin Castro and Norwich City forward Jordan Hugill (loan).
Although former West Brom forward Kevin Phillips believes it has been a ‘fairly decent’ window for his old side, he believes they were one or two short of the perfect summer and said to West Brom News: “I’d like to have seen that out-and-out striker.
“I know Hugill has come in but he needs to get his career up and running again, so keeping Zohore in the place, it gives that competition.
“I think overall, it’s been fairly decent, maybe would have liked to see another wide player coming in, only time will tell if it is a good window.”
The free capture of Alex Mowatt from Barnsley on the expiration of his contract at Oakwell is arguably the EFL signing of the summer.
Everything just fell into place perfectly for the Baggies who had appointed Valerien Ismael at the end of June, allowing the Frenchman to recruit his former captain at the start of the following month.
The loan signing of Matt Clarke was also a good move – and the imminent arrival of Kean Bryan to solve their crisis at the back will continue what was a summer of prudent and conservative spending by the recently-relegated side.
Depth in central defence, central midfield, on the wings and up top could be questioned as one of their weaknesses – and something that could come back to haunt them later in the 2021/22 campaign if further injuries and suspensions start to creep in.
You also feel they are potentially missing a main goalscorer up top even with Callum Robinson’s current form and Jordan Hugill’s arrival. This would have made Daryl Dike a brilliant addition – but with the Covid-19 pandemic and the West Midlands outfit needing to adapt their finances back to the Championship – this may not have been the wisest move at this stage.
They also have the January window to fill gaps in their squad ahead of what’s currently looking like an automatic promotion push – but as pundit Phillips alluded to – the outcome of the next 41 league games may determine how successful this window has really been. In his words: only time will tell.