Valerien Ismael is under pressure to bring West Brom back from a run of poor form which has seen them fall further from the automatic promotion spots in the Championship, and he could be in with a golden chance to improve their fortunes in the January transfer window.
The Albion manager has spoken out ahead of the imminent transfer window claiming that “it’s a process”, with mounting pressure on the former Barnsley manager to revive West Brom from a slump in performances and lack of goals in the Championship as they challenge to get back into the Premier League in the second half of the season.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, the 46-year-old said: “Generally (with the squad) I am not where I want to be – it’s clear, but it can’t be from the start you have everything you want. It’s a process, you need two or three transfer windows.
“Now we come to the second window and we will see what we can do, how many players we can pick. The important thing is getting the right player. If it’s one, it’s one. If it’s two, it’s two. If it’s three, it’s three.”
Injuries and suspensions have all had their part to play in the declining form, with midfielders Jayson Molumby and Jake Livermore both getting sent off in the space of a week recently and the likes of Kenneth Zohore and Dara O’Shea sustaining injuries during the season so far.
Jordan Hugill is also expected to return to Norwich in January, meaning that Ismael will have a number of key positions to fill during the January transfer window going into the second half of the season.
There have been rumours circulating that Ismael could be sacked by Christmas if performances don’t improve in the short term to keep the Baggies in contention for an automatic promotion spot.
Understandably, he and the club have work to do in January, but football can be unforgiving to managers who are underachieving when expectations are not being met.
These words of reassurance from the manager that he is open to adding more players in January could well leave fans buzzing not only for the transfer window ahead, but for the rest of the season. Ismael clearly isn’t content with what he’s got at the moment and has a vision in mind of the direction in which he wants to take the team and the club to go in, while also being considerate of fans’ expectations amid calls for key positions to be strengthened.
It would seem unfair for him to be sacked before he can revive the squad with a decent transfer window, but it would be essential for any new signings to make an instant impact and improve the team rapidly to ensure that West Brom can keep their involvement in the promotion race for as long as possible. Still, at least the manager’s proclamation that he wants to strengthen with “the right player” next month should please The Hawthorns faithful.