West Brom’s transfer dealings this summer give the impression that Tony Pulis has witnessed the Barcelona-isation of former employers Stoke and, to prove that he can do glamour too, embarked on a similar makeover at The Hawthorns, only with Manchester United players.
The foundations were laid in February when he brought in Red Devils vice-captain Darren Fletcher, but the process rapidly gained momentum over the weekend with the acquisition of centre back Jonny Evans for a £6 million initial fee plus £2 million in add-ons.
The Northern Ireland international was promptly followed by one of the many goalkeepers who have spent the opening weeks of the season in the Old Trafford stands, Anders Lindegaard. The Baggies didn’t even need to pay a sum for the Dane, who arrives on a two-year contract.
It is very unlikely that Pulis has finished recruiting as his stints at Stoke and Crystal Palace made it clear that he is a huge fan of a deadline-day dabble, so the question is: who next?
News.bwin reckon that they should temporarily abandon the Man Utd-only policy to make a move for a three-time Premier League champion of Arsenal and Chelsea stock in Ashley Cole.
Left back is a problem position at present, as evidenced by Chris Brunt being used their for the first three games and Joleon Lescott defying the giant “for sale” sign around his neck to fill in there as they claimed their maiden victory of 2015/16 at Stoke.
Cole is available for a fee of zero pounds and zero pence following his departure from Roma, while his difficult year in Serie A has almost certainly sent his expectations over potential suitors and wage demands significantly south.
The 34-year-old never looked out of his depth in 15 campaigns as a Premier League defender though so it would be folly to dismiss him on account of a brief disappointing spell in the Italian capital. He is the perfect fit for the “affordable ambition” that appears to be West Brom’s mantra right now.
If you agree with our prognosis, you can get 4/6 on Cole joining a Premier League club by Friday. By contrast, if you fancy your chances of beating the bwin.com bookies, it is 11/10 that no such switch takes place.
Incidentally, this deadline day marks the nine-year anniversary of the 107-time England international’s transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea.