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Baggies must break bank in summer

West Brom's FanZone blogger Tom Harper believes the club must break the habit of a lifetime and spend big this summer to continue progressing.

Last Updated: 10/04/13 at 17:41 Post Comment

West Brom: Must spend to continue progress

West Brom: Must spend to continue progress

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Most West Bromwich Albion fans would agree that the club will be at something of a crossroads this summer, so the big question is simply where do we go from here?

Under Roberto Di Matteo, Roy Hodgson and currently Steve Clarke, we have seen a steady progression since our most recent promotion from the Championship at the end of the 2009/10 season.

After finishing 11th in our first season back in the Premier League, we finished 10th last term and look set to finish higher than that this time around, hopefully finishing with more than the 47 points we picked up in each of the previous two campaigns.

The club's transfer policy during this period has been about adding a small number of players to the squad each summer, with one cash signing and the rest being free transfers or loan deals.

There is concern among some Albion fans that in order to continue our excellent progress next season, we will have to change our philosophy when it comes to signing players.

We could need up to half a dozen new players this summer, with several players reaching the end of their contracts and others quite clearly leaving the club.

It goes without saying that Peter Odemwingie will be on his way after his numerous Twitter outbursts, with Romelu Lukaku returning to Chelsea at the end of his season-long loan spell.

I would expect Marc-Antoine Fortune to move on after only playing a bit-part role this season, with fellow striker Markus Rosenberg also potentially being on his way out after failing to make an impact after arriving last summer.

This would leave us with Shane Long as our only senior striker, and with there being an element of uncertainty over the future of players such as Steven Reid and Jerome Thomas, it is fair to say that our usual transfer policy of investing in a transfer fee on one player before bringing in a few free agents and one loan signing may not be enough.

We need to bring in a right-back, possibly a centre-half, a left-back (although hopefully Goran Popov will agree to join us permanently), a holding midfielder, a winger and two or three strikers.

This won't come cheap, but I believe the signings are necessary if we are to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle next season which has involved almost half of the Premier League at one stage or another this campaign.

It is interesting that comments from Steve Clarke stating that we cannot afford to stand still, because other clubs will overtake us, have been published today. These comments come just days after he suggested that Albion may have to change our transfer policy to do this.

I think Jeremy Peace is an excellent chairman, but it is well known that he is not the wealthiest in the league and has not always given our manager or head coach the financial backing some of our rivals have been able to enjoy.

However, the excellent scouting department at Albion has enabled us to unearth several gems who have turned us from a 'yo-yo' club into an established Premier League one, capable of giving anyone a game on our day.

Our record when it comes to signing players is reason for encouragement going into one of the biggest summers in our recent history, but it is crucial that we continue to enjoy such success in the transfer market if we are to keep developing on the pitch.

Hopefully this time next season, we will be sitting in a similar position in the league and maybe even have enjoyed a good cup run having spent wisely during the summer.

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