There have been plenty of ups and downs along the way with Steve Bruce eventually earning the faith of the club’s hierarchy heading into the 2022/23.
The Baggies looked to be one of the most likely sides to challenge Fulham for the league title in the opening months of the season, but Valerien Ismael’s methods were worked out on a consistent basis and they struggle to produce consistently probing performances in the attacking third.
Bruce switched things up to a 4-4-2 formation in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Reading, and may have offered a clue as to what they are going to look like next season, and how they want to play.
Adam Reach and Matt Phillips played on either side of the midfield four at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, and sadly neither are promotion pushing players in those roles.
West Brom were prepared to spend big money on Daryl Dike in the January transfer window and in backing Bruce’s ideas they seem likely do so again this summer, in their second season back in the Championship receiving parachute payments.
Going after Coventry City’s Callum O’Hare would be a long term target, with the potential of completely revitalising their midfield contingent.
Reach and Phillips are good crossers of a ball and can contribute from dead ball situations, but O’Hare would offer a lot more both in and out of possession from open play.
A flat 4-4-2 formation will limit the Baggies creativity next season, particularly if Daryl Dike faces further spells out of the team through injury.
Quiz: Which club did West Brom sign these 24 players from in the 1990s?
Picking up a versatile attacking midfielder like O’Hare, who has two years left on his contract at the CBS Arena, would give the team so many more ways of hurting an opponent, while also beginning a transition away from some of the senior members of the squad who remain contracted at the club next term.
The 24-year-old would also fit nicely in Bruce’s preferred system, at the moment, and would provide greater flexibility for the former Newcastle United manager within it.