West Bromwich Albion are on the hunt for another creative midfielder, after Harvey Barnes was recalled by Leicester City halfway through a season-long loan deal, and the Sun’s Alan Nixon reckons the Baggies are chasing Romaine Sawyers.
Darren Moore had identified the midfielder he worked with in the Throstles academy as a potential signing in the summer, but did not complete a deal for the 27-year-old despite reports suggesting he would make a £3million bid.
If Moore is to finally land his man, Albion could be on the hunt for automatic promotion but that is not where the potential consequences end. Let Football FanCast run you through them…
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Yes, if West Brom land the creative midfielder they would be serious contenders for automatic promotion and rival Norwich, Leeds and Sheffield United for the top two spots.
Already, the Baggies are three points away from the automatic places, but would close the gap in a matter of matches with Sawyers, thanks to the Brentford star’s ability to slot into the system Moore has developed at the Hawthorns.
Before Claude Puel activated Leicester’s recall option, Barnes had featured in every possible Championship game for West Brom and was a leading figure in getting the ball over the line for Moore’s side.
In his 26 games in navy blue and white, the England Under 21 international scored nine goals and assisted a further six, while creating 39 key balls from a total of 640 passes.
His absence will be felt and results affected even more than they have if an adequate replacement is not brought in – the Baggies drew their only Championship tie without the 21-year-old so far – but Sawyers would see that Leicester’s gain is not the Baggies’ loss.
The loss of Barnes forced Moore to return to a 4-3-3 for the seventh time this season, rather than his more regularly favoured 3-4-1-2, with striker Dwight Gayle shifted out onto the left and Hal Robson-Kanu brought into the fold as the solo centre-forward.
Despite it being his first start on the left wing at West Brom, Gayle netted his 14th goal of the season to ensure he had scored in every position he has played to date.
Robson-Kanu, on the other hand, again struggled to make an impact and failed to find the net with either of his two shots on target before his stoppage-time substitution. The former Welsh international also only attempted a single dribble and was dispossessed three times during his 91 minutes on the field against Norwich.
If a place in the starting XI has to open up for Sawyer to fit into it, Moore would not have to look much further than the 29-year-old.