Prior to the 2014-2015 season, Alan Irvine was appointed the head coach of West Bromwich Albion. Soon after, he splashed out a club record fee on Brown Ideye, a relatively unknown prospect at the time. Alongside Brown, Joleon Lescott joined the Baggies on a free.
Excitement soon turned to frustration and Alan Irvine was ousted in December 2014, leaving the Baggies hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone. To the delight of WBA fans, Tony Pulis was announced as the Baggies new head coach. Tony proceeded to keep his reputation intact and WBA ended the season 9 points clear of the relegation zone.
Despite some mid-season altercations, Saido Berahino was without doubt the stand out performer during the course of the campaign. He was rewarded by Roy Hodgson with a call up to the English national team. Lescott also stood out as a experienced rock behind an ever-changing midfield. Ben Foster as well as James Morrison equally enjoyed great seasons for the Baggies. However, Pulis pulled off one of the coups of the season by signing Darren Fletcher. Darren was able to provide that balance from defence to attack. A stroke of genius by Tony and his back room staff.
WBA have signed James Mclean from Wigan this summer transfer window and have been linked with Liverpool for the acquisition of Rickie Lambert. WBA’s centre midfield and defence looks likely to be staying the same, implicating cheap prices for first XI players.
STAR MAN – Brown Ideye (5.5m)
There are still high levels of uncertainty surrounding the departure of Saido Berahino this summer. His partner, Ideye can benefit from his absence. A strong, technical goalscorer is exactly what WBA and Tony Pulis are after. Although he took a while to settle in to English football, Brown found form in the new year and is a vital asset to Albion’s chances of having a successful campaign. Brown is likely to have a low price tag coming into the 2015/16 fantasy football campaign, therefore it is paramount you snap him up early on.
HIDDEN GEM – Craig Gardner (5.5m)
Craig picked up a number of goals and assists last season and seems a solid first choice centre midfield for WBA. With the likes of Darren Fletcher sat just behind him, Craig can venture forward more to support Albion’s attack. Gardner takes corners, a number of free-kicks and has a bullet of a long shot. Yet again, Craig Gardner is likely to be priced at 5.5m, a low and very affordable price for a regular point scorer.
By Aaron Cottrell.