West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael has dropped a claim regarding his side’s business in the upcoming January transfer window.
In recent comments cited by Birmingham Live, the West Brom manager revealed that he is well aware of exactly which areas of his squad require improvement in the winter window, as well as claiming that he and his transfer team are already working on deals ahead of the January market opening.
Speaking about his transfer plans, the Frenchman said: “We are working. It’s not a secret. Behind the scenes we are working on it. We’ve only had a first window but when a new manager comes in with a new way to play it takes time to pick the right player and to improve.
“We need to assess the six months between the two windows and see exactly what we need to adjust, what we need to compete at that level. For sure we want the next step in transfers with quality players who make the difference.
“The January window is always a difficult one because you need to take players who make an impact straight away. You don’t have time to waste, you play. We already have our ID, the only question is whether we can realise this in January.
“We already know about what we need and the games have helped us to have a clear picture of the situation and where we want to go to create the clear picture we see of West Bromwich Albion.”
Despite the fact that, prior to Sunday’s fixtures, West Brom are currently sitting second in the Championship standings, six points behind league leaders AFC Bournemouth, fans of the club appear to nevertheless be growing increasingly frustrated with the Baggies’ lack of a goalscoring number nine or a creative midfielder.
Indeed, following the 2-1 loss to Swansea City in midweek, one fan stated their belief that season-long loanee Jordan Hugill is “useless” and that West Brom “need a ball-player and a striker” in January, while another simply called for the club to “spend some money and get some quality in” during the winter window.
It is hard to disagree with this outlook, as, over Hugill’s ten Championship appearances this season, the 29-year-old has scored just one goal and has averaged an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of 6.55 – ranking him as Ismael’s fourth-worst performer in the second tier of English football.
Meanwhile, it is also true that Albion appear to be lacking any real creativity in midfield, as wing-backs Darnell Furlong and Conor Townsend currently sit first and second in the club’s average key passes-per-game charts, with 1.6 and 1.5 respectively, while none of the Baggies midfielders have created more than two big chances so far this season.
As such, as long as these two positions are indeed the areas of his squad that Ismael has identified he requires January reinforcements, the 46-year-old’s comments are sure to have West Brom fans buzzing.