The form of Matheus Pereira was undoubtedly one of the major positives for West Brom in the Premier League last season.
Having taken the Championship by storm as Albion won promotion, many fans expected the Brazilian playmaker to be similarly effective in the top-flight.
And, whilst it took longer than many thought, 11 goals and six assists in 33 games is an outstanding return from a side that struggled all season.
Therefore, it’s perhaps no surprise that the Baggies face a real battle to keep hold of Pereira following their relegation, with rivals Aston Villa among a host of clubs thought to be keeping tabs on the 25-year-old.
Even though Albion won’t want to sell, we all know that money talks, and here we look at the potential impacts if Pereira does leave The Hawthorns…
A key goalscoring threat is lost
Firstly, as well as losing their best player, Albion will be losing their only real goalscoring threat. Callum Robinson was the club’s second top scorer with five, that came from three games, which shows just how big the drop off was.
Of course, relegation should ensure others step up, and there will be an expectation that Karlan Grant, Robinson and Grady Diangana can get amongst the goals, but two of those in particular have struggled for a year now. It may not click straight away.
Then, you have the assists and quality that Pereira displays in helping his teammates. He will be sorely missed on the pitch because he does so much for the team.
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They will need to sign a replacement
Following on from that, Albion would need a replacement.
The players we have mentioned all have their own qualities but none of those, or any one else in the squad, is capable of playing in the central attacking midfield role where Pereira excels.
So, finding a number ten would have to be a priority, even if they’re unlikely to be at the same level as the former Sporting CP man.
The new boss has funds to strengthen elsewhere
There would be one positive from this potential sale though – more funds would be available for the new boss.
Even in the current climate, Pereira would be able to fetch a significant fee by Championship standards, so that will allow Albion to bring in a few new signings.
Central midfield and a physical striker would be high priorities, and decent options could be available if West Brom are boosted by Pereira’s transfer.