Tuesday, 3 February 2015

January Sales Madness

Despite the best efforts of the Sky Sports team to whip up some excitement around the January transfer window most clubs do the bulk of their transfer business in the summer.

Only the desperate plunge headlong into the January market which is any commentator will tell is difficult with clubs reluctant to sell their best players but eager to unload expensive duds.

The bad news is that the Albion were in the market which tells it's own story. A new manager wanting to stamp his mark on the squad and a couple of summers where the club has got it wrong has lead Albion into being a lot more active than anyone at the club would like.

In summary Albion's business at the close is


McManaman and Fletcher 


Samaras, Blanco, Varela, 

So we lost three  and gained two. The shape of the squad is pretty much unaltered on the face of it although Pulis has moved on players that he was never going to play and replaced them with ones that he might.

However those bald facts barely tell the story of a day which was remarkable in it's twists and turns. There were two additional signings lined up Martin Olsson from Norwich and Carlton Cole from West Ham which were scuppered in the closing hours of the window. As part of the deal that would have bought Olsson to Albion Graham Dorrans was heading to Norwich and there were on going reports of Brown Ideye heading off to the Middle East.

Both Cole and Dorrans were at their new clubs waiting for the all clear by the time things unravelled although it was never clear whether Olsson made it to the Hawthorns or was stuck in snow or unable to agree terms. Cole was on the threshold of joining the Baggies when a deal to take Adebayor from Spurs to West Ham collapsed and lead to a heated exchange between the player and his current manager (see here).

How much interest the club had in selling Ideye remains to be seen but even allowing for Cole's arrival it would have left us short of a striker and I guess unless another deal could have been lined up then there was never any real prospect of Ideye moving on in this window although there has to be a long term question mark over his future at the Hawthorns and the club may yet have to take a hefty loss on their record signing. There is no such question mark over Dorrans it is absolutely plain his future lies away from the Hawthorns, tonight there is talk of the deal being resurrected as a loan deal.

Pulisball or bust?

How far down the road to Pulisball have we travelled? Firstly the arrival of Darren Fletcher from Man United is a vital part of the jigsaw as it gives Pulis a midfield all rounder that is key to making his 4-4-2 work. There is no doubt that Fletcher will go straight into the side and the only doubt is whether he will partner Gardner or Yacob.

Callum McManaman is pretty much a straight swap for Varela and as such will provide width on the right, a left sided counter part might have been on Pulis's wish list but for the time being he will have to make do with his current options which is Chris Brunt.

The non arrival of Martin Olsson leaves an interesting dilemma, Albion are not short of left backs there are 3, Pocognoli, Baird and Davidson (albeit he's been away at the Asia Cup) and it would appear that none are to Pulis' taste. The last two games has seen Lescott deployed as a left back with mixed results (bad and very bad) and it is clear that Albion's star Centre Back is not happy in the role. Personally I don't care which of the three he goes with but persevering with the Lescott experiment is doomed to failure.

Up front we are short of a Pulis style target man and Cole was lined up to provide the muscle and aerial threat that makes Pulisball effective. We are now very dependent on Anichebe with Ideye,Berahino and possibly Sessegnon providing support. I would worry if we lost Anichebe to injury and the medical staff will probably be working overtime to keep Vic on the pitch.


This window was very much the first step on the path to Pulisball but the certain trends emerging already. The signings and targets were unimaginative in every sense of the word. All were British based known quantities which is the hallmark of Pulis work in the transfer market.There was a plan to the recruitment he was filling in the obvious gaps in the squad although the left back thing is a bit of a puzzle. The full blown revolution will wait until summer if we are still in the Premier League I think will be in for an even more dramatic deadline day at the end of August.  

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