Tony Pulis
Tony Pulis is the bookmakers' favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

It's all been rather quiet on the West Brom front in terms of transfers this summer, with only winger Matt Phillips arriving in a £5.5m ($7.1m) deal from Queens Park Rangers. A club record £16m pursuit of wantaway West Ham striker Diafra Sakho sensationally collapsed amid problems with his medical, meaning Saido Berahino is likely to be retained until a suitable replacement can be found by new technical director Nicky Hammond.

That tedious saga looks set to rumble on for some time yet, while centre-back Jonny Evans is courting attention from Arsenal. Highly rated Leeds United academy graduate Charlie Taylor, who recently had a transfer request rejected, is being targeted by manager Tony Pulis to fill a gaping void at left-back. Feyenoord defender Terence Kongolo and Watford forward Odion Ighalo are among the other players recently linked with a move to the west Midlands.

Baggies fans will inevitably hope that former chairman Jeremy Peace's decision to sell parent company West Bromwich Albion Holdings to Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Limited, a Chinese investment group led by businessman and new owner Guochuan Lai, will lead to a host of new arrivals before the window shuts on 31 August .

The takeover deal is still waiting to be sanctioned by the Premier League's Financial Conduct Authority, although there are no hiccups anticipated.

In terms of outgoings, Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon were both released while goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard has dropped a division to join Preston North End. Long-serving midfielder James Morrison and back-up stopper Boaz Myhill have penned new deals.

Last season

Premier League: 14th

FA Cup: Third round

League Cup: Third round

Top scorer: Salomon Rondon (10)

Saido Berahino
Saido Berahino's future remains unresolved Harry Trump/Getty Images

Manager - Tony Pulis

The uncompromising and pragmatic Welshman is certainly not to everyone's tastes, but there is no question his methods are effective. Having built his reputation during a second stint in charge of Stoke City that lasted seven years and saw the club establish themselves in the Premier League and reach the 2011 FA Cup final with an ugly, physical playing style, he later won manager of the year by impressively hauling Crystal Palace out of the relegation zone, then leaving less than two days before the start of the 2014/15 campaign due to tension over transfer targets.

While the defensive football on offer at The Hawthorns under his leadership is hardly scintillating and goal-packed, Pulis has at least provided some managerial stability after Steve Clarke's dismissal in December 2013 was followed by the brief reigns of Pepe Mel and Alan Irvine.

How long he stays after the takeover – and the odds on him being the next Premier League manager to leave his post are 2/1 – remains to be seen. Will ambitious new owners be content with the functional tedium of Pulisball?

Key player - Jonny Evans

News of Arsene Wenger's reported interest in the former Manchester United defender was hardly greeted with glee in north London, but West Brom will be desperate for him to stay put. A commanding centre-back frequently deployed on the left by Pulis, his versatility proved invaluable during his first season at the club and his popularity was reflected in a supporters' player of the season award.

Jonny Evans
Can West Brom resist Arsenal's interest in Jonny Evans? Michael Regan/Getty Images

Last season's top scorer Rondon remains critical as long as the new striker/Berahino saga remains unsolved, while Darren Fletcher and Claudio Yacob are a vital pairing in midfield. Craig Dawson's durability at right-back is also important.


Some excitement and ambition would certainly not go amiss. There is only so long a fanbase can be content with simply steering clear of the bottom three before expectations naturally begin to increase. With so many seemingly average teams expected to clog up that mid-table area in 2016/17, would a top-half challenge really be so hard to achieve with the right recruitment? A run to the latter stages of one of the domestic cups would also inject some much-needed enthusiasm.

IBT prediction - 12th

As long as Pulis is at the helm, it is difficult to see former yo-yo club West Brom making a first return to the second tier since 2010. However, the current squad is notably weak in several areas and reinforcements will have to be secured by the new regime to ensure they avoid the relegation dogfight. It's technically a new era for the Baggies, but in truth it is impossible to see anything other than more of the same safe mid-table mediocrity.