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The West Brom deals that almost happened: Albion’s nearly-men XI

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

All football fans love transfer speculation as they bid to get an insight into who their club might be keen on signing.

Who almost joined Albion?

But the madness of the football merry-go-round means all teams land some of their targets while missing out on others – with Albion no exception.

Here Albion reporter Joseph Masi and Baggies fan Liam Jones put together an ‘Almost XI’ of top players who reportedly came close to signing for the Baggies.

Goalkeeper – Brad Friedel

Brad Friedel

In 2011, Albion were looking to replace Scott Carson, with Friedel holding advanced talks after leaving Villa. In the end, he opted to join to Tottenham.

It was the Baggies who got the better end of the deal though after instead landing Ben Foster.

Right-back – James Tavernier

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James Tavernier

Former boss Darren Moore was desperate to sign the Rangers captain at the start of last season.

The Baggies made two bids for the full-back, who scored a staggering 17 goals in the 2017/18 campaign.

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In the end, though, the clubs couldn’t agree a fee with Tavernier going on to sign a new deal at Ibrox.

Centre-back – Virgil van Dijk

Virgil Van Dijk at Celtic

Arguably the best defender in the world, van Dijk came on the Baggies’ radar – along with a host of other clubs – while he was at Celtic.

He was extensively scouted and recommended to Tony Pulis.

But Albion didn’t make a move – with van Dijk going to Southampton.

Centre-back – John Terry

John Terry

While he may not have been keen on van Dijk, Pulis did want to sign John Terry when he left Chelsea in 2017.

Instead went on to join Villa.

Left-back – Jeffrey Schlupp

Jeffrey Schlupp

Another man Pulis was desperate to land, the Baggies saw several bids for Schlupp turned down after he made it clear he wanted to leave Leicester.

The Ghana international eventually joined Crystal Palace.

Central-midfield – Owen Hargreaves

Manchester City's Owen Hargreaves

Roy Hodgson agreed a deal with Hargreaves after he left Manchester United.

He passed a medical with the Baggies, but a chance meeting with David Platt saw him jump ship for Man City at the last minute.

Central-midfield – Abou Diaby

Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby

Once dubbed the ‘next Vieira’ by Arsene Wenger, Diaby was close to signing for the Baggies after spending nine injury-plagued years in London.

He had a medical and was set to sign a pay-as-you-play contract before opting to return to France with Marseille.

For Albion, though, it was very much a case of bullet dodged with Diaby playing just six times before retiring.

Central-midfield – Luka Modric

Croatia's Luka Modric

It was reported in 2007, Albion had a deal agreed in principle with Dinamo Zagreb for the future Ballon d’Or winner.

The transfer was likely to be completed if the Baggies secured promotion to the Premier League

But it wasn’t to be, with Tony Mowbray’s side losing in the play-off final.

Striker – Robert Lewandowski

Poland's Robert Lewandowski

Mowbray also wanted to bring 20-year-old Lech Poznan striker Lewandowski to the club in January 2009.

The Polish side wanted £2.6 million, but Albion had no money to spend.

He has since, of course, banged in goals for Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Striker – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Albion were watching Aubameyang back in 2011 while he was on loan at Saint-Etienne from AC Milan.

The Baggies had the chance to bring in the Gabon-international on loan but opted against the move.

Striker – Romelu Lukaku

Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku shone on loan with the Baggies back in the 2012/2013 season, scoring 17 goals in 40 outings.

A press release was written ready to announce his return.

But at the last minute Everton offered more money to sign the Belgian international.

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ

West Bromwich Albion reporter.

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