The beauty of having oil-rich superpowers in football is that the less monetary fortunate can cherry pick the players cast into the shadows after a big money signing arrives.
It’s a strategy that West Brom supremo Steve Clarke looks set to follow as he moves to sure up the Baggies’ defence with a bid for disgruntled PSG centre-back Diego Lugano, who looks set for the guillotine after the arrival of Marquinhos.
It’s clear that Clarke has pinpointed the back line as the area most in need of a boost, having reacquired left-back Goran Popov on loan from Dynamo Kyiv. His attentions have now switched to the heart of the defence with Lugano, who has played just 12 times for the plush Parisian outfit and spent the second half of last season at Malaga, the object of his desires.
Capped 85 times by Uruguay, Lugano is openly seeking a move away from PSG and will provide some much needed competition to first-choice centre-back pairing Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley, who started all bar four games together in last season’s Premier League campaign.
Clarke’s focus on defensive improvement is well warranted too as his side had the worst defensive record of the sides to finish above the fold and, with Craig Dawson untested and Gabriel Tamas uninspiring, a move for Lugano will be exactly the step up in class that West Brom, who are 6/4 to finish in the top 10, require.
An eighth placed finish last season came as a pleasant surprise to West Brom fans more used to reattaching Football League badges to their shirts than hoping for European football. With another season away from the Premier League’s drop door in the offing Ladbrokes go 11/8 that the Baggies can end the season as the land’s top Midlands club.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date.