Former West Brom player Paul Scharner believes West Brom are capable of playing European football, and wished he had a role at the club.
The ex-defender was critical of those running the club, stating that they approached the current season with the wrong mentality.
He thinks Albion should be aiming to do more than just survive in the Premier League.
When asked what he would do as sporting director, Scharner told The Liquidator Podcast (28:03), “That would be my best position, I have the vision and the mentality.
“I believe that West Bromich Albion can qualify for Europe, not just survive in the Premier League.
“First of all I need to change the mentality of the supporters because the supporters don’t believe that West Brom can be more than surviving in the Premier League.
“It’s too long in the last five, six, seven years that supporters are just happy to just stay the Premier League, that’s not good enough.
“The focus must be on developing players who are at the club.”
Taking the right approach
Scharner is very optimistic about West Brom’s potential and though his comments are easier said than done, there is a truth to them.
In recent seasons both Leeds and Sheffield United have been promoted and built on their success in their first Premier League season.
It has not worked out for the latter this season, but with minimal investment they were able to finish ninth last term.
Leeds have also performed well with much of the squad that got them promoted last term, so we have little excuse.
We also showed in January that we are capable of attracting talented players at little expense, with loanees Mbaye Diagne and Okay Yokuslu impressing immediately.
We got our recruitment badly wrong last summer, as it is important to think long-term.
That is what Leicester did after their promotion in 2014, and now they are one of the best teams in the division.
Scharner rightly points out that producing talented young players is the best strategy to take – something the Foxes also did with Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes.
Youth products could be sold for profit or may instead help the first-team for several years.
That would ensure we do not have to rely on short-term solutions, as we have this season.
In other West Brom news, ‘Cracking’, ‘I want him’ – These West Brom fans react to big manager update.