West Brom manager Valerien Ismael has confirmed preparations ahead of the January transfer window have intensified.
The Baggies currently sit third in the Championship but are eight points adrift of front-runners Bournemouth. Injuries have been aplenty at the Hawthorns so far this season. Dara O’Shea has been sidelined for several months along with his replacement Kean Bryan, who’s out for the rest of the campaign.
Alex Mowatt, who was one of the six summer signings, has missed the last five games with a foot injury. He’s been a big loss to the Baggies as his attacking play is a real threat to opposition defences.
Ismael wasn’t afraid to show his intentions of wanting to bring in new faces at the West Midlands club.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, he said: “For sure we are intensifying the players, but we have been preparing in the background already, you don’t start one week or two weeks before the window opens.
“It’s all a process. We know exactly where we want to see players.”
The Baggies faithful have been frustrated with their side’s recent displays. In their last five league games, they’ve lost to both Swansea and Fulham.
Even though Karlan Grant is getting on the scoresheet regularly, his strike partners are finding it difficult. Since his arrival in the summer, Jordan Hugill has only scored once in 13 games. Kenneth Zohore is a forgotten figure under Ismael. He’s made just two Championship appearances.
The West Brom boss has indicated why it’s tough to bring in new players during the winter transfer window.
“Yes, but you can still pick up the right player, but it’s not the best window because the January window, when you pick a player you need an impact straight away,” he added.
“The player needs to be available or you need to spend a lot of money to get the player you want.
“It’s always a balance and we need to see what the club can invest and what is the budget before we make our decision.
“Or we need to be creative like we were in the summer. We will see, but we know exactly what we need. Things will happen and you need to stay in control.”
Academy players going nowhere under Ismael
Ismael, meanwhile, has stated his side need to stop letting promising academy stars leave the club.
Nathan Ferguson was a top talent for the Baggies but he was quickly snapped up by Crystal Palace in 2020. Louie Barry was another who looked destined to go far at the Hawthorns. However, he signed for Barcelona before making the switch to Aston Villa this summer.
Since his arrival, Ismael has made it clear he wants to involve the youngsters in the first-team set up. Taylor Gardner-Hickman made his league debut against Hull. In place for the suspended Darnell Furlong, the 19-year-old produced a brilliant display.
Ismael said: “When I came here I said straight away it was to implement a philosophy and give a chance to young players.
“We need to create an identity for the fans and to keep our young players here in the club.
“The first thing I heard when I came here is that the good players go away to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace and we need to stop this. It’s my job to give the chance to young players but not just in the 85th or 90th minute when we are 5-0 up but in a real situation.
“In pre-season I recognised straight away that we had three or four players who could play with us. In the last three months the under-23s have had exactly the same way of playing, the same principles and when the players need to play with us they know straight away what they have to do.”