New West Bromwich Albion boss Valerien Ismael has revealed he expects in-demand duo Sam Johnstone and Matheus Pereira to leave the club this summer.
The 45-year-old left Barnsley to take charge at the Hawthorns late last month and spoke to the media for the first time as Baggies head coach yesterday.
A significant chunk of the Albion squad left at the end of their contracts earlier in the summer, while both Ahmed Hegazy and Rekeem Harper have been sold by the club.
However, it seems more departures are likely to be on the way as Ismael hinted that two of the West Midlands club’s in-demand players are likely to leave before the current window closes.
Speaking to the Express & Star, he said: “It’s not a secret that Sam Johnstone and Matheus Pereira can maybe leave the club.
“It’s my expectation that they (will) leave.
“But I don’t need the best players, I need the right players for the position.
“Even if they leave we will find the solution or we will reinvest the money.”
The pair have both been linked with moves back to the Premier League this summer, with Pereira drawing reported interest from the likes of Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton, Norwich City, Leeds United, Leicester City, West Ham United, and Crystal Palace.
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Ismael’s stance is certainly a boost for the clubs in pursuit of both Pereira and Johnstone as not only is he expecting them to leave this summer, he doesn’t seem particularly concerned about losing them.
That should make it easier for the chasing clubs to prize the duo away from the Hawthorns, particularly if they’re offering a move back to the Premier League.
It may sound strange but you feel Ismael’s approach is also a boost for Baggies fans as he’s clearly confident that his team can succeed without two of their key men from last season and is already assessing solutions to replace them.