Express & Star

West Brom may enter market to replace Romaine Sawyers

Valerien Ismael refused to rule out dipping into the transfer market to sign a central midfielder after Romaine Sawyers left Albion for Stoke.

Romaine Sawyers of West Bromwich Albion.

Sawyers, a key member of the side that won promotion at the end of the 2019/20 season, has joined Michael O’Neill’s side on a season-long loan.

A boyhood Baggies fan, the 29-year-old’s time at The Hawthorns now looks to be over with his contract up at the end of the current campaign.

His departure, though, leaves Albion with just two recognised central midfielders in Jake Livermore and Alex Mowatt.

Ismael believes Robert Snodgrass, Dara O’Shea, Semi Ajayi, and youngster Quevin Castro all have the potential to perform in that role this season.

But he refused to rule out making an addition when asked if Sawyers’ departure leaves the Baggies light in the middle of the park.

“I think we have time and we have options inside the squad, “ the boss said with the transfer window still open for another 10 days.

“With Dara (O’Shea), with Quevin (Castro), with Snods (Snodgrass).

“I am delighted at the minute with our squad in that position.

“But for sure we will see what we can do if we have to do something.

“But I think that decision (Sawyers’ departure) is down to the player wanting to play more – that is simple to understand.”

Ismael has previously said he hopes Snodgrass – who is returning to fitness following a back injury – will be able to feature against Arsenal in the League Cup on Wednesday.

“Snods played with the under-23s again on Friday to make sure he is starting to find his rhythm,” the boss revealed.

“That rhythm is so important in the Championship when you play every three days.

“We are simulating that now with the under-23s, they played on Monday and they played on Friday.

“That is good for him and we will see from Monday the reaction from him, how he responds to that intensity.

“Then we will move onto the next step.”

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