Darren Moore and West Brom board plan January window with owner Guochuan Lai

Darren Moore met Albion owner Guochuan Lai for lunch today – with the January transfer window firmly on the menu.

Owner Guochuan Lai pictured at last night's match against Brentford, his first of the season. (AMA)
Owner Guochuan Lai pictured at last night's match against Brentford, his first of the season. (AMA)

Lai is in England this week to take stock of the club he bought off Jeremy Peace two years ago for £200million and watched his first Baggies game of the season on Monday night.

He then sat down with head coach Moore on Tuesday, as well as chief executive Mark Jenkins, technical director Luke Dowling, and executive director Ke Xu, his representative in the UK.

With the transfer window looming at the end of the month, Moore admitted it would be discussed over an informal lunch.

“It’ll probably be one of the topics,” he said. “We’ll have some lunch. It’ll be good to see him, good to catch up with him.

“I’m grateful he’s come over. It will be good to have a bite to eat and then we’ll take things from there. He’s only here for a couple of days.”

The Baggies are no longer in an overdraft, but will need to borrow money in March regardless of January purchases because of wage commitments and further payments on transfers already made.

But the club have not ruled out doing business next month as they attempt to bounce straight back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Albion’s new head of recruitment, Ian Pearce, said recently: “January is always a very difficult window to operate in, clubs are reluctant to let players go a lot of the time, so we have to be as prepared as we possibly can to take advantage of any opportunities that come our way.

“Getting the right deal done in January, it can have a really major impact on your season, so we’ll be doing what we can to ready ourselves for that.”

Albion also have two players – Wes Hoolahan and Tyrone Mears – out of contract in January, and will decide in the coming weeks whether to extend their deals until the end of the season.

They will also seek assurances from Leicester City and Manchester City that Harvey Barnes and Tosin Adarabioyo will be allowed to see out their season-long loans.

Lai is expected to fly back to Shanghai before Friday’s derby with Villa.

Chairman Li Piyue, who is based in Sweden, visits more often than the owner although Ke Xu, known as Ken, is based at Albion’s training ground in Walsall sponsored by Lai’s company Palm.

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