Jonny Evans would have left West Bromwich Albion had Arsenal or Manchester City matched his £30m (€32.8m) price tag, according to manager Tony Pulis. The Northern Ireland international was heavily linked with leaving The Hawthorns during the final week of the summer transfer window. However, a deal never materialised after the Baggies turned down three offers for their captain.
City had an £18m offer rebuffed, before Leicester City saw bids of £21m and £23m rejected by the Midland side, who were holding out for a record fee to part ways with the influential 29-year-old – who has not played for his club this season due to a hamstring injury. But after playing every minute for Northern Ireland in their World Cup qualifying wins over San Marino and the Czech Republic he is ready to commit his future to West Brom.
Arsenal were credited with late interest in signing Evans as the club looked to bring in fresh faces following the 4-0 hammering by Liverpool. City were also heavily linked with the ex-Manchester United defender, but neither club matched West Brom's valuation of the defender –who could now be handed a new contract.
"The bottom line with Jonny Evans – Arsenal were interested and Manchester City were interested – is they never met the value the football club wanted," Pulis told reporters, according to Sky Sports. "If they had met a value it might have been a different situation.
"I'm pleased, obviously, that Jonny stayed. He has got to knuckle down now, get back in the team, and start showing everybody what a good player he is again. I hope we can offer him a new contract and tie him down, we will speak next week about what Jonny is thinking and what he wants to do.
"He is a very down to earth lad, very level-headed. He has been at one of the great clubs in world football [Manchester United] for a long time, so going to Manchester City or Arsenal wouldn't have fazed him at all. I don't think the speculation fazed him."
Pulis was among the managers to lead the campaign for the Premier League transfer window to be closed early, with the proposal being voted through by top flight clubs on Thursday (7 September). The ex-Stoke City and Crystal Palace boss is delighted speculation over the future of his key players will now be put to bed before the campaign starts.
"I would have closed it a week before the season started to stop all the rigmarole going on. If we can knuckle down earlier it stops all the speculation while you are in games and playing games, so I am very, very pleased they have taken that decision. I don't think it benefits anybody that you have this chaos going on when the games programme has started. I think it's absolutely ridiculous."