Express & Star

Shilen Patel confirms West Brom transfer window approach in open letter

Chairman Shilen Patel has outlined how Albion must be "resourceful" and "open-minded" in the transfer window to build solid foundations for the future.

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The window for player trading opens on Friday (June 14) and head coach Carlos Corberan and the club have what new owner Patel described in an open letter to supporters as "a challenge and an opportunity" while urging a need to be prudent to balance the books.

Albion's challenge is to stay in line with current financial fair play (profit and sustainability) regulations. Losses in the latest set of accounts, dated to June 2023, as well as more considerable losses due in the period ending June 2024, mean recruitment at The Hawthorns this summer will not be about splashing any of Patel's fortune.

Instead the Florida-based investor detailed how the club, including Corberan, head of football operations Ian Pearce and his recruitment team, must work smart in a "full-scale collaboration" to plan for the future.

Patel wrote: "The summer transfer window presents us with both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge will be to operate within the league’s financial rules from the club’s current position.

"Championship clubs cannot lose more than £39m across three seasons. The club recorded an £11m loss for the 2022/23 season and will confirm another significant deficit for the 2023/24 campaign – our first without Premier League monies in 22 years."

Since the late-February takeover Albion's owner has already paid off the club's outstanding Wisdom Smart loan, predecessor Guochuan Lai's controversial borrowing from the club of £5million plus interest, and invested around £1m in training ground upgrades this summer. Infrastructure works are not included within FFP regulations.

Patel is also funding the club, which runs at what is believed to be around a £2m loss per month.

As a result, the businessman continued: "In short, that means we will need to be resourceful, process-driven, and open-minded to get the most out of the flexibility we have or can create in the market.

"It is never easy to restock a squad, but this summer is also an opportunity to build a foundational sporting philosophy and practices for long-term success.

"It has been a full-scale collaboration amongst our recruitment staff, Carlos and his coaches, and management to find and secure players representing our game model and long-term vision."

Albion are yet to move in player business this summer, save for those released from their contract when they expire after June 30, which was confirmed at the end of the season. Three regular first-team players were offered new contracts, with the hope that two agree in Alex Mowatt and Kyle Bartley, while Cedric Kipre is set to depart despite being offered the best terms the club could stretch to in their current structure.

Patel's letter continued: "Since our acquisition of Albion in February, we have paid off the Wisdom Smart loan, and are continuing to finance the club which, as you know, has been running at a loss.

"It is our job this season and beyond to balance the books and grow value in the playing squad. This can only be achieved through prudent and strategic decision-making."

The chairman, from a family who hold strong beliefs in philanthropy, also confirmed that Albion women's team has now been incorporated by the club having previously operated as a separate company.

He added the club must "move forward as one" in the aim to build a women's side under boss Siobhan Hodgetts-Still who can also compete for promotion, initially from their current third tier.

"Though the team had been financed by the club, it simply wasn’t right for that separation to continue," Patel wrote. "We must now move forward as one and the women’s team will benefit from being a fully-fledged and most-welcome part of the club.

"I have been wholly impressed by Siobhan Hodgetts-Still’s whole-hearted dedication to the club and the programme and we will continue to work with her to aid the development of the women’s team. In time we hope our women’s team is also ready to mount a promotion challenge."