So far during the summer transfer window, West Bromwich Albion have failed to spend a single penny, and suffered an opening day defeat to Southampton. A section of fans have been quick to blame Chairman Jeremy Peace and have called for change. But do they actually have a case?
Peace took-over the club in 2002, during Albion’s first season in the top flight since 1986 and things didn’t get off to a good start. The club were relegated and top goal scorer Danny Dichio could only muster a less than impressive eight goals in all competitions. Peace came under scrutiny in the January transfer window when he only signed Ifeanyi Udeze on loan when the club needed experience to give them any chance of staying up.
Many more seasons of ups and downs followed, but Peace remained at the club as the Baggies finally began to stabilise themselves in the Premier League.
Peace has splashed some cash in the past, but they failed to live up to potential. Club record signing Borja Valero joined for 4.7 million but left after one less than impressive season. Other players such as Gianni Zuiverloon, Luke Moore and Nathan Ellington all cost three million pounds or over but failed to impress. Only Shane Long, who cost 4.5 million pounds from Reading, and Curtis Davies, who joined from Luton for three million have impressed when Peace has decided to part with a considerable amount of money.
Players such as Claudio Yacob, Billy Jones and Gareth McAuley, all joined The Baggies on free transfers have proven to be a lot more successful, so that could explain the chairman’s lack of desire to pay big money for players.
Peace prefers to spend his money on developing the training ground and youth academy which has proven to be a success. Albion have one the most up-to-date training ground’s in the Premier League which have saw players already at the club continue to develop. Players like Saido Berahino and Deveron Daniels have both been included in the first team recently, which has shown that West Brom are starting to produce high quality players from the Academy who are ready for the Premier League.
While Peace might not been seen spending money, over the years the wage cap West Brom use has steadily increased. This season the wage cap increased again as the club brought in Nicholas Anelka, who had previously played for Juventus, Real Madrid and Chelsea.
Peace deserves a lot of credit for what he has done to the club. He has transformed the club from top to bottom. West Brom look more likely to challenge for Europe than be dragged into a relegation scrap, which would have delighted fans if you told them that ten years ago. However, Peace must start spending again and trust the scouting team to secure the long term future of the club in top flight, instead on loan signings who can only benefit the club in the short term.