It’s that time again: transfer speculation, gossip – will they, won’t they’s. Who doesn’t love it, really?
Just as everyone is fretting about Sam Allardyce’s future and who he would sign to get Albion straight back into the Premier League, we also have to remember there will likely be lots of outgoings. Here, we take a look at five players who Albion should cut ties with this summer.
Right off the bat, we should first take a look at some of the players already leaving.
Kieran GibbsEmbed from Getty Images
One sure leaver is former Arsenal man and England international, Kieran Gibbs, with his contract running out this summer. His time at the club since joining in 2017 has been underwhelming to say the least; plagued by injuries, mistakes and a general lack of discipline.
There has rarely been a run of games during his time at the club where he has looked anything like the player he has always had the potential to be. Given his huge wage bill, it will be relief for all parties involved to see him off to David Beckham’s Inter Miami this summer.
Lee PeltierEmbed from Getty Images
When Lee Peltier rocked up to training after promotion to the Premier League, Albion fans had two thoughts: one, he is just making up the numbers for fitness until he can find a club; or, two: Oh God, this really is what Slaven Bilic has to work with this season.
As we all now know, it was the latter, as Peltier signed a one-year contract extension, which runs until the end of this season. He has managed a couple of games this campaign, most notably at left-back against Aston Villa in Big Sam’s first game in charge.
In fact, it was the injury sustained in the warm-up by the other man leaving, Gibbs, who forced Peltier into action – if this doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about Albion’s resources this season, nothing will.
Charlie AustinEmbed from Getty Images
Former Southampton striker Charlie Austin is another man out of contract this summer, and has spent the last six months on loan at his former club, Queens Park Rangers.
Austin’s first season at the club was mixed: it was underwhelming in terms of goal contributions, though the goals he scored were undoubtedly crucial in Albion’s ultimate promotion-winning campaign.
It is unlikely that there will be any desire on either side to start afresh and so Austin, like Gibbs and Peltier, will free up much-needed wage space for some new players.
Kamil GrosickiEmbed from Getty Images
You would be forgiven for forgetting that Kamil Grosicki even plays for West Brom. Nearly 18 months on from his signature last January, this has to have been one of the strangest signings Albion has made in recent years.
He first came in to add firepower to an already blistering Championship attack. He got a few games in as Albion were promoted but was by no means a regular fixture.
Since then, he has fallen off the face of the earth, being relegated to sporadic bench appearances and U23 games. For his sake and for ours, this is another relationship that needs to come to an end.
Now those four are out of the way, we take a look at five players who Albion should consider offloading come the end of the season.
#1 Sam JohnstoneEmbed from Getty Images
Before everybody loses their minds, I am not doubting Sam Johnstone’s ability by calling for his sale. Alongside Matheus Pereira, he has undoubtedly been the best player at the club this season, earning an England call-up in the process.
He would be an incredibly useful asset in the Championship next season and ultimately, is too good for Albion. The club’s hierarchy knows this, Johnstone knows this, as do several clubs across the Premier League.
At 28 and with just one year left on his contract, it would be wise of Albion to cash in now, rather than risk losing him on the cheap in January or on a free next summer. West Ham, Leeds and Tottenham Hotspur have been touted as potential destinations for the former Villa man, with fee speculation ranging anywhere from £10-20m.
That sort of money would go a long way in what will be a grueling rebuild this summer – whoever is in charge – and with academy graduate Alex Palmer looking primed for a chance at being West Brom’s number one, the sale of Johnstone makes sense for all parties.
#2 Jake LivermoreEmbed from Getty Images
In what might seem quite a harsh statement, it was a toss up between Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers on who would take this second position.
Romaine Sawyers has had an awful season. He has looked totally out of his depth at Premier League level and has completely fallen out of favour with Big Sam. Though it may seem a long way back for the former Brentford man, there is not doubting that he knows the Championship inside-out.
Albion’s midfield needs a complete overhaul and it is unlikely that Sawyers will become its crown jewel once again; however, he still remains a more of an asset than current club captain Jake Livermore.
At 31 years-old, Livermore is not getting any younger and like Sawyers, has fallen out of favour with Big Sam. He has made just 17 appearances in the Premier League this season, struggling to stake a real claim in any of them.
Things went especially bad for Livermore during Allardyce’s first game of the season as he was sent off for a reckless challenge on Jack Grealish. There has been no way back for him since.
If Albion could get close to £1m for him, then Jake Livermore, ruthlessly, should be moved on.
#3 Kyle EdwardsEmbed from Getty Images
It has become clear that the promotion of Kyle Edwards was Bilic’s own little project. Edwards made 26 appearances in Albion’s promotion-winning campaign which, considering also featured the likes of Pereira, Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson, is impressive to say the least.
His performances were slightly less impressive, however, as he scored just two goals and notched one assist in the process. As for this season, barring a bright display against League Two outfit Harrogate Town in the EFL cup, his presence has gone largely unnoticed.
He has made just five appearances in the Premier League, all of them coming under former manager Bilic.
TransferMarkt valued Edwards at £1.35m back in 2019, with his value falling ever since. We have passed up the chance to cash in on him and now it’s time to let him go.
#4 Hal Robson-KanuEmbed from Getty Images
Hal Robson-Kanu has been a great servant for the West Brom.
Though not the most prolific goalscorer, he leaves it all on the pitch and has undoubtedly scored some iconic goals for the club – his goal against Southampton, where he completely embarrassed Virgil Van Dijk, springs to mind.
His contribution in getting Albion back to the Premier League should not go unnoticed, too. He scored ten vital goals that season – arguably, it was his purple patch in the November of that season that allowed Albion to pull away and eventually achieve automatic promotion.
Just like Livermore, though, at 31 years-old, he is not getting any younger and with a big rebuild on the cards, Albion should look to replace him with a younger, brighter centre-forward.
#5 Kenneth ZohoreEmbed from Getty Images
The signing of Kenneth Zohore back in 2019 may be one of the worst signings this club has ever made. Not even because of his lackluster performances but because he cost upwards of £8m. Who in their right mind would sanction this deal?
After scoring just five goals in 20 appearances for us during the 2019/20 season, it was clear he would have no part to play in Albion’s Premier League campaign. Since then, he has gone on loan to Millwall, putting up similar numbers, scoring just three in 19.
The longer he stays on the books, the worse he seems to be getting. Albion need to recuperate whatever they can before he runs out of the rest of his deal on the sidelines.
A word on Matheus PereiraEmbed from Getty Images
Matheus Pereira has been a revelation for Premier League fans this season. Of course, Albion fans already knew how good he was, scoring eight goals and assisting 16 more as Albion achieved promotion.
He has only continued to impress this season, scoring ten goals and assisting six more. His latest against Arsenal, where he ran almost the full length of the pitch prior to an excellent finish into the bottom right corner, sums up a season where Albion have often had to rely on their star-man for inspiration.
If I had it my way, regardless of the fee, I would keep Matheus Pereira at the club. I am of the mindset that you should not sell your best player and there is no doubting that he is Albion’s best player. He would be a huge asset in the Championship and if there is any chance Albion can convince him to stay, like Todd Cantwell at Norwich, then they should.
At the same time, if the player wants a move, the club should not stop him. He has earned it. Allardyce said it himself – it will be extremely difficult to keep him at the club next season. The last thing Albion needs is an incredibly talented player disrupting a dressing room after a botched transfer request.
In the likely event that Pereira does leave the club, Albion should accept no less than £20m for him, pushing as close to £30m as possible. That fee, combined with the sales of Johnstone, Livermore and Zohore, would provide Allardyce with all the cash he could want for the blistering rebuild required to fire Albion back to the Premier League.