Time to climb the league table

Tuesday 3rd September 2013 20:50

Steve Clarke: Will want to get points on the board

Steve Clarke: Will want to get points on the board

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West Brom FanZoner Joe Chapman says that the majority of fans may be a little disappointed with the club's transfer activity.

Transfer deadline day never has been healthy for the heart. That's if you support the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool, notorious for their late business. The whole event has become an entity, featuring Jim White, Harry Redknapp and a host of journalists reporting from the each end of the country and everywhere in between.

For West Brom fans, we can normally crack open a can or bottle of our favourite drink and watch the events unfold on Sky Sports News, safe in the knowledge that our business was concluded by Dan Ashworth and Jeremy Peace weeks ago. No such luck this year, however.

Ashworth has since followed Roy Hodgson to England of course, but not before appointing his own replacement in Richard Garlick. Where we were delivered gems in the early parts of the window last summer in Claudio Yacob and Gareth McAuley the year before, we had to be patient this year. The players that were expected to leave, did. Jerome Thomas was snapped up by newly promoted Crystal Palace, Gonzalo Jara returned to Nottingham Forest on a permanent basis and Marc-Antoine Fortune found pastures new at FA cup holders Wigan.

The long drawn-out Peter Odemwingie saga finally came to an unceremonious end on deadline day, the Nigerian completing a move to Cardiff. Shane Long was also the subject of a bid from Hull, only for the plug to be pulled in the dying moments. Gabriel Tamas agreed to the termination of his contract. As for incomings, Steve Clarke gave a number of around "three or four" signings in April. He would be to increase that number considerably by September 3.

No less than nine players arrived at the Hawthorns over the summer - four of them on deadline day. The unattached Lee Camp was added as cover for Boaz Myhill, following the stress fracture suffered by Ben Foster, which is to keep him out of action for three months.

Three joined from abroad on loan. Goran Popov returned for another temporary stint from Dynamo Kyiv, while last year's Championship player of the year Matej Vydra joined from Udinese. Versatile midfielder Morgan Amalfitano arrived from Marseille on the final day. Scott Sinclair was the only domestic loanee, coming in from Manchester City.

Experienced freebies Nicolas Anelka and Diego Lugano joined, which informed the fans of how ambitious and attractive a proposition their club had become. No major exits.

Albion signalled their intentions by splashing the cash late on. Nearly £12m was spent on the tricky talent of Sunderland and Benin's Stephane Sessegnon and Nigerian Victor Anichebe of Everton. Albion fans content, yes?

I suppose you can't fail to be disappointed with the arrivals. Deadline day nearly proved to be so much more, however. Fabio Quagliarella of Roma was talked to; Tottenham's Jermain Defoe talked about. The biggest 'what if' came late in the day. It came in the form of Romelu Lukaku.

The big Belgian expressed his desire to return to the Hawthorns after Jose Mourinho sanctioned another loan deal for the 20-year-old. Despite Albion's attempts to instigate the deal, they weren't able to compete with the suddenly wealthy Everton, backed by £27.5m from the sale of Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United, when a loan fee of £5m was demanded. So Lukaku will line up against Albion at the Hawthorns on 18 January, rather than for them. The reception he will be receiving isn't in question, however.

Despite this setback, Albion will feel they can now compete in every remaining Premier League game with the squad they now hold, something that was missing at times in their first three matches. The pace of Sinclair, the creativity of Amalfitano, the trickery of Sessegnon, the strength of Anichebe, the nouse of Vydra and the experience of Anelka doesn't sound half bad, all the while singing the song of Popov....

Steve Clarke and co will now look to Fulham, hoping their plans won't be interrupted by international duty injuries, as Albion look to score (and win!) for the first time this season.

Come on you Baggies!

You can follow Joe on Twitter at @jcwba16 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.

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