On Sunday, West Brom suffered heartbreak in a Midlands derby that saw them conceded a stoppage-time equaliser to draw 2-2 with Aston Villa. The draw pushed Sam Allardyce’s team closer to a quick return to the Championship after just one season.
The Baggies are now nine points from safety with just five league matches remaining. It seems the great escape part two will not take place this season. With West Brom facing the prospect of relegation, several of the Baggies better players may look to remain in the top-flight with another club’s next season. Here are some of the players that could move on:
The former Manchester United academy graduate has been a solid last line of defence in recent seasons for the Baggies. He has too much quality to dwell in the Championship for too long, as the 28-year-old has England ambitions.
Johnstone was part of the last England squad and according to the Daily Mail is a summer target for former club Manchester United this summer. There are doubts over the future of David de Gea at the club after dean Henderson usurp the Spaniard as first-choice, while Lee Grant and Sergio Romero are also expected to leave in the summer.
United see Johnstone as a good backup or potential challenger to Henderson if De Gea leaves the club.
The Turkish midfielder only made his debut for the Baggies in March after a January loan switch from Spanish club Celta Vigo. However, the 27-year-old has added some quality and steel to Allardyce’s team in the centre of the park. No doubt he would be a decent signing for a midtable Premier League team for next season, especially as he wouldn’t be likely to cost a major transfer fee.
Without a doubt, Matheus Pereira has been a standout performer for West Brom this season. The Brazilian attacking midfielder has scored nine goals and produced five assists in his 29 top-flight appearances this season.
There is a sense that those numbers could be a lot more impressive if he was playing with better quality players around him. After his performances this season, it would be highly surprising if he was still at the Hawthorns when next season starts.
At 24-years old, he is still a relatively young player and he could get better. He could easily fit into a team like Everton, Aston Villa or Wolves next season, although the Baggies are unlikely to sell to the latter as they are bitter rivals.
In short, Pereira seems to have every attribute to be a success at the highest level. With the Baggies likely facing relegation, his price tag may be slightly less than if they were in the English second tier.
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Allardyce can bring them back up
Sam Allardyce has never suffered relegation from the top-flight in his long managerial career. This season looks set to see that record change. The 66-year-old has just over a year left on his contract with the Baggies.
If he had joined the club a bit earlier than December, then he may well have stopped West Brom from going down. However, his task next season will be to win instant promotion, which is certainly not beyond the experienced former England head coach.
Which West Brom players will be plying their trade in the top-flight next season?