The news that West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace is looking to appoint a Technical Director to help Tony Pulis with transfer proceedings was overshadowed somewhat due to the unsavoury events that took place after the defeat away to Reading in the FA Cup. However it was a significant announcement I felt, and one that I was extremely pleased about.
Since Dan Ashworth (the last to hold a technical director position at the club) was nabbed by the FA back in 2012, it’s safe to say our transfer dealings have been far from successful. Under Ashworth, the club were shrewd in the transfer market, plucking players with potential from England’s lower leagues and Europe’s less ‘glamorous’ divisions for relatively small fees.
It wasn’t flawless, there were more than a few flops brought in by Ashworth and his team, but there were most definitely more successes, which was proven by the fact the club consolidated its Premier League status and gradually progressed up the table as each season passed.
But since Ashworth left; we now seem to have completely scrapped that approach and taken almost the exact opposite, spending sizeable amounts on so called ‘proven’ Premier League talent and players with Champions/Europa League experience.
“What’s wrong with taking that approach?”, I here you say. Well there isn’t anything wrong with it, as long as the vast majority of players brought in prove a success. Considering how much we have spent in the transfer windows since Ashworth moved on, you would of hoped our success rate regarding transfers would of increased not decreased.
Nicolas Anelka, Victor Anichebe, Brown Ideye, Rickie Lambert and Scott Sinclair, all these are players that would fit that criteria, but all turned out to be major let downs contributing very little between them. Jonny Evans and Darren Fletcher prove that taking this approach can prove prosperous, but if you look at the players Pulis has put most of his trust in since he arrived at the club, they have been players who were brought in by Ashworth and his team. Surely that alone proves resorting back to that set-up would be the wisest thing to do.
However; regardless of whether or not a technical director would be a good move to make, I think the biggest question is whether Pulis would actually be willing to work with one. When asked about the announcement in a press conference, his response was that he would accept a new technical director as long as they avoided overlapping and interfering. That’s fair enough, but it’s hardly encouraging first words from our Welsh head coach and hints straight away at discontent.
It’s common knowledge that Pulis likes to have the final say on transfers, but it’s also common knowledge that his record when bringing players in has been very much hit and miss. Even if you were to look at his short time with the Baggies; the likes of Evans, Fletcher and James McClean have proven to be fantastic acquisitions, but the same definitely can’t be said about Lambert, Serge Gnabry and Anders Lindegaard and the jury is still out on James Chester, Callum McManaman and Salomon Rondon.
As already stated, my personal opinion is that bringing in a technical director would be the right move to make. A lot will obviously come down to the appointment, but I feel, based on how successful it was the last time the club put in place that system and how unsuccessful our dealings in the transfer windows have been since we changed it, it’s definitely a risk that’s worth taking and it looks like Peace has the same opinion.
The same can’t be said about Pulis however, and I feel he will need some convincing that it’s the right way to go forward, otherwise we could see him do ‘another Palace’ and jump ship the moment he feels his control regarding transfers is taken away from him.