West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael is facing a nightmare transfer scenario at The Hawthorns this summer.
That’s according to a Steve Madeley report for The Athletic, who claims that Albion are in desperate need of a new centre-forward ahead of their upcoming Championship campaign. However, without raising funds through the sale of some of the club’s current players, Ismael’s transfer kitty will not allow for a big-money addition to his attacking arsenal in the summer transfer window.
Madeley goes on to state that the most likely way of the Baggies raising money this summer would be by sanctioning the departures of both Matheus Pereira and Sam Johnstone, with it being claimed the pair would bring in over £30m – even at significantly reduced asking prices.
Finally, it is said that, in the event that the Frenchman does not cash in on either of his most valuable stars, he will have to turn his attention to out-of-favour Premier League forwards or an up-and-coming young goalscorer in the transfer market.
Considering just how impressive both Pereira and Johnstone were for West Brom last season, it is undeniable that losing either of the two this summer would put a significant dent in the club’s hopes of securing an immediate return to the Premier League next season.
Indeed, over his 33 Premier League appearances last term, the £13.5m-rated Pereira bagged 11 goals, registered six assists and created a whopping 11 big chances for his teammates, with these returns seeing the £39k-per-week winger earning a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.18.
Meanwhile, over Johnstone’s 37 Premier League appearances, the £7.2m-rated goalkeeper kept six clean sheets and made a total of 166 saves throughout the season, with these metrics seeing the £28k-per-week shot-stopper earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.03.
Unsurprisingly, these ratings saw Pereira and Johnstone rank as the Baggies’ top two performers in the Premier League last season, demonstrating their importance to the team.
However, as Madeley states, with Mbaye Diagne returning to Galatasaray following his loan spell at The Hawthorns last year, it is indeed true that Ismael is short of options in attack ahead of next season. A proven goalscorer very much appears to be a necessity if Albion wish to give themselves the best shot at promotion.
As such, it would seem as if the Frenchman is stuck between something of a rock and a hard place, with the 45-year-old having to decide whether his team’s need for goals is greater than an incredibly solid option in between the sticks or a massive creative influence from the wing – a headache it is certain will be keeping the manager up at night.