Richard Garlick today insisted Albion are well-equipped for the challenges ahead as he reflected on the club’s summer transfer business.
The Sporting & Technical Director confirmed the Baggies have strengthened the areas of the squad they targeted, giving head coach Steve Clarke plenty of options for the current campaign.
With the attacking quartet of Romelu Lukaku, Jerome Thomas, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Yassine El Ghanassy leaving at the end of last season and Peter Odemwingie ostracised, the club prioritised recruiting power and pace in the central and wide forward areas.
And Garlick believes Albion have reinforced those positions with the signings of Nicolas Anelka, Matej Vydra and Scott Sinclair, plus the £12m deadline-day arrivals of Stephane Sessegnon and Victor Anichebe.
“Our main aim this summer was to retain our core players who have done so well in recent seasons – like Youssouf Mulumbu, who signed a new contract – and replace the attacking players we would be losing,” he said.
“We knew Romelu was heading back to Chelsea after his loan spell and although for a brief moment on transfer deadline day there was a chance he might return, we have planned without him.
“It was always on the cards that Peter would move on which left us with a lot of attacking talent to replace.
“Of course, only time will tell, but we’re very hopeful we’ve done that. With the signings we’ve made, we’ve put power and pace back into the team, which was absolutely vital.”
Gabriel Tamas and Gonzalo Jara Reyes also departed this summer.
Heading in the opposite direction were Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, Morgan Amalfitano and Lee Camp, who was brought in as extra goalkeeping cover after Ben Foster suffered a fractured foot, plus Goran Popov, who was re-signed on a season-long loan.
Garlick reckons Albion have evolved and strengthened the squad during the past four months.
He added: “Overall, I believe we’re stronger as a unit than we were 12 months ago. It’s important that we are because the Premier League promises to be more competitive than ever. Every team has strengthened.”