West Brom aren’t that bad, are they, Richard?
Former Sky Sports host Richard Keys has tipped West Brom to finish 21st in a 20-team Premier League this season.
It’s a typo, of course, but Keys’ prediction that the Baggies will finish 19th is based on his assumption that Slaven Bilic could exit The Hawthorns before Christmas.
West Brom stuttered to automatic promotion from the Championship last season by winning just three of their last nine matches after the restart.
Since then, Bilic has only welcomed two new players in back-up goalkeeper David Button and centre-back Cedric Kipre, who was relegated to League One with Wigan last term.
Of course, Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson have returned to The Hawthorns on permanent deals but that’s not enough for Keys to say that Albion will avoid instant relegation from the top-flight.
Writing on his blog on his personal website, Keys said: “I think the Baggies will struggle as well. I’m not convinced that we can judge a team on what has been spent anymore because to some extent the spending has dried during COVID – except at Chelsea of course!
“But, they look frail in so many areas. I like Bilic and it’s good to have him back, but I fear it won’t be for long. And if they start badly the chances are he won’t make Christmas. They’re not shy when it comes to sacking a manager at The Hawthorns.”
We assume it’s just banter from Keys.
West Brom won’t sack Bilic – we just don’t see that happening.
Albion know they were extremely lucky to hire Bilic last summer after losing in the Championship play-off semi-finals and they are unlikely to be able to appoint a better manager than him.
Just look at West Ham fans right now. A lot of them firmly believe that sacking the ex-Croatia manager a few years back was a huge mistake.
If Albion struggle to stay up this season it is likely to be down to the strength of the playing squad and the lack of investment from the top of the club.
Whether Guochuan Lai can invest in the Black Country club or not, the Chinese owner’s silence is deafening.
Fans are unhappy with the transfer budget and unhappy that the squad, as it stands, is weaker than it was at the end of last season.
New signings are needed.
But for that to happen, Bilic needs more money.
In other West Brom news, this player is in London ahead of a major decision on his career after Albion tabled an offer.