During this off-season, I thought it would be good for me to go out there and talk to a fan of every Premier League club. I wanted to get their insight on how things went last season, what they are looking forward to in the transfer market and how they thought next season was going to go for them. This whole series, you will be able to find here.
For this interview , I “sat down” with West Bromwich Albion Report, they were a twitter account that preceded a blog and had accumulated 4,500 followers before they decided to make a website alongside it (this you can find at www.wbareport.com). The site was fully up and running on June 27th 2020 and has been updated daily since then. They have six writers who contribute and all of them are Albion fans, so it’s great for those reading the articles because they’re often on the same wavelength as its creators. So, with that said, let’s get on with part 2 of the interview:
Who was your player of the year this season and why? Is there anyone else you have in mind that could also have won it?
WBAR: Matheus Pereira, without a shadow of a doubt. We haven’t had a player with so much flair and skill at the Hawthorns for a very long time. He’s a joy to watch, and you find yourself just wishing for the other players to get the ball to him because you know that once he receives it, he’ll do something magical like split the defence open with a through-ball or weave through several oncoming defenders as if they weren’t there.
There are a couple of other players who could be in with a shout, too: Grady Diangana, Filip Krovinovic, Semi Ajayi, Romaine Sawyers… there were many crucial players this season.
West Brom were joint-second top scorers in the Championship last season, yet Charlie Austin and Hal-Robson Kanu were top scorers with 10 goals each, what do you think this says about your team and the tactics employed?
WBAR: As mentioned previously, we failed to plug the gaps upfront left by Rodriguez and Gayle. Austin is a mediocre striker and Robson-Kanu is wildly inconsistent. I don’t think it was an issue with the tactics as such, just a lack of true firepower in that area.
With Matheus Pereira being being identified as your strongest player and you lacking firepower up front, do you have a worry that Premier League teams may be able to target Pereira and, through that play you out of the game?
WBAR: Championship sides tried to target Pereira as well but failed to prevent him from making an impact — the best they could do was foul him, but that always worked in our favour as Pereira would then take the free-kick. Admittedly, Premier League sides will probably do a much better job of breaking Pereira down, but I think he’ll still be a thorn in the side of opposing teams regardless.
Looking to the transfer window, then, what kind of business should West Brom be doing, and which possible arrivals are you most excited about?
WBAR: We need to bolster several areas but ideally a box-to-box midfielder should be at the top of the priority list this summer. We’ve been linked with so many players but whether there’s any truth in the speculation is open to debate. Vedat Muriqi, in particular, though, is a striker we’ve been linked with and if we were able to sign him, I think everyone would be over the moon.
Do you believe then, that Vedat Muriqi alone would give you that firepower up front then to bring you the goals to stay up, or will he need support from other signings too?
WBAR: Muriqi appears to be a striker who can create his own goalscoring opportunities, which is great, but if he needs service then we can give him that with the three attacking midfielders that are likely to sit behind him. I think he alone would fix the issues in the striking department, and the remainder of the budget could be spent on bolstering other areas of the squad.
So, that concludes the second part of the interview, keep your eyes open for part three, where we take a look at next season’s expectations and whether The Baggies can stay in the Premier League. Part three, plus all other fan interviews conducted this post-season, can be found here.
To see the rest of my interviews with Premier League fans, you can visit the page here.