Express & Star

West Brom to enter January market to replace key player

Boss Carlos Corberan has confirmed Albion will be in the January market to replace stricken winger Matt Phillips.


Long-serving wideman Phillips, 32, was this week ruled out for four months and faces a battle to return for anything more than just the final weeks of the Championship season.

Head coach Corberan, whose side are in Sunderland for a lunchtime kick-off today, used Phillips as an example of moving parts heading into a transfer market – and how a need for a replacement was borne out of the torn hamstring.

"It's still early," explained Corberan in relation to January. "We need to see our possibilities as a club and still we need to see what happens before the market begins – we are going to play six games in a very demanding period of the competition. Now we need to replace Phillips. It's something nobody expected and now it's happened.

"Things can still happen in that time and Phillips is the clear example."

Albion are not expected to be big movers in the transfer market even if the ownership situation and sale from controlling shareholder Guochuan Lai is resolved. The club will still need to reduce the squad's wage bill, if at all possible.

The head coach suggested the Baggies must balance what the squad requires for a play-off push with what is possible financially.

Corberan confirmed he is in regular contact with Albion's head of football operations Ian Pearce, who oversees the club's scouting and recruitment.

"With me, working in this club, I have continuous talks with the people of the club," the Spaniard added. "I work day-by-day with Ian Pearce and Mark Miles, talking specifically about players I work with Ian a lot.

"We share thoughts in the squad, in the growing of the players, in improvement, in the needs we can have.

"There's not going to be a single day when we sit down and say 'that one'. I know Ian and his people sit and work in a lot of markets and there are a lot of possibilities.

"When the moment arrives, we will see. What is our needs in that moment and our possibilities? We need to balance the two things.

"With the injury of Phillips we must now watch our possibilities. A lot of things can happen between the market opening and closing, before we can talk in detail."