Sam Allardyce has revealed that three potential signings collapsed this past week as West Brom’s recruitment drive in the second week of the January transfer window brought only frustration.
Allardyce and Albion had hoped to head to Molineux to tackle neighbours Wolves on Saturday lunch-time buoyed by the arrival of another player or two, to go alongside the already acquired Robert Snodgrass who is expected to make his club debut.
Yet with Albion working within the confines of a limited budget which means only loan deals and transfers for nominal fees are realistic, clubs have swiftly pulled the plug on agreements that Albion have thought they’d struck.
It means that, unless they’re able to pull a transfer rabbit out of the hat within the next 24 hours, they’ll face Wolves with what they’ve got currently.
That’s infuriated Allardyce and Albion’s transfer team, but their search for additions will merely intensify beyond this week.
“You won’t have as many names as we’ve tried to get this week,” Allardyce claimed, when the list of linked names was mentioned to him. “We’re not at the end of a positive week in terms of people coming in like Robert Snodgrass last week.
“We’ve tried and tried to acquire at least one or two new players this week but that hasn’t come to fruition just yet. There are still plenty of irons in the fire, but we’ll continue to try until the end of the window to improve the squad for the back end of the season, with the fight that lies ahead of us.
“We’ve had three yes that turned into no, so the promises were there and then when it came to the reality of linking the club, the agent, the player, that has been a scenario where – it’s no different to any other January window from that point of view – we get to the final matter and there’s a change, another stipulation that we have to overcome, particularly if they’re from abroad.
“They’ve either not been available on loan, or they only want to sell. The interest comes in, we ask if we can loan them, they say yes, and in the end they say ‘actually, we don’t want to loan, we want this much money’.
“That is generally an enticement by a club in Europe that tries to get you sucked in in the first place. They think “once they’ve got you sucked in you’ll go all the way. But in our situation we can’t do that. I cannot afford to bring a player into the club’s that not good enough.
“In our position that’s not the answer for us at the moment. We may get to a stage where we stay up and may buy the player, we could push in that direction in order to get the right player, but a straightforward buy is out of the question at this moment in time.”
Frustrations have grown in that sense, but Allardyce still harbours hope that the Baggies can bring in players to improve the existing group in the next fortnight or so.
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They are still in need of at least one forward addition, while the new boss wants midfield cover and in defence, too.
He is of the belief that more players who fit the bill will become available further down the line, though in that time more important games will pass in which his side must gather points as a matter of urgency.
“I’m optimistic because there are that many players on the lists of everybody,” he added. “Everybody suffering financially means there’s a bigger possibility for loans than ever before in January I think.
“If we can offer a subsidy to that club and take over the player’s salary, and bonuses on top of that, that’s something that could arise more towards the end of the window.
“The only problem with that is that four more games in that time will drift by and they’re very important games for us in the Premier League.”