Departing Dan Ashworth is already working on his farewell gift to the Baggies – next summer’s transfer targets.
The club’s sporting and technical director has been speaking for the first time since his move to the FA, planned for the summer of 2013, was confirmed.
Ashworth, credited with playing a key role in Albion’s advance from yo-yo outfit to Premier League stability, revealed that he is working through “50 or 60” applicants to succeed him, including candidates from abroad.
But he confirmed he will be co-ordinating any January transfer moves – and has already blue-printed the Baggies’ transfer plans for next summer.
Ashworth, who will be charged with the task of revamping England’s coaching set-up as the FA’s new technical director, does not expect major business during the January transfer window unless an injury crisis takes grip of Steve Clarke’s squad or a golden opportunity crops up.
He said: “For the first time last summer there probably wasn’t any criticism of our transfer work. I think everyone agreed we filled the slots.
“So short of any injuries, or fantastic offers, I can’t see us doing much in January.
“When the window closed on August 31, an email went the next day with our summer targets. We are now looking towards summer 2013 and we will spend the coming months doing that.
“If any are available in January ready for our summer, either on pre-contract which we can do from abroad or people running into the final six months of their contracts, then maybe but we know the positions we want to strengthen next season. The board meetings we have all take into account of where we might need to strengthen, who is getting older, who might want to move on.”
Ashworth is ready to work an extended “handover” period with the candidate Albion eventually choose to replace him and has promised Baggies fans to work as “diligently” as ever in the meantime.