Recent media reports have suggested that Liverpool are lining up a £12 million bid for Shane Long from West Brom this January. Liverpool need a striker and there are few better players suited to come in and adapt to the way that Liverpool like to play their football.
However, if West Brom allow Long to leave then they could be saying goodbye to their Champions League dreams for the season. They are currently in fifth place and on the same number of points as Tottenham and Chelsea.
They face something which could be disastrous for them if combined with Long’s departure, the African Cup of Nations.
The January tournament is going to forced out players who are integral to West Brom as an attacking unit; Peter Odemwingie and Youssouf Mulumbu being the two most important. It would place an immense amount of strain on the club if Long also departed for another club.
“This is when the squad will be tested. They will all be asked to step forward and make their contribution, that up until now, they have all made. We have got a good squad with good depth and over the coming weeks it will be used and tested to the maximum,” manager Steve Clarke told the WBA official website.
The immediate effect of this could be that the club struggles to score goals as they are forced to play the same combinations of attacking players on a regular basis. This will lead to fatigue which will impact on the rest of the side and the results will fall apart as the main consequence.
If West Brom want to pull off the achievement of Champions League football at the end of this season then they need to retain attacking firepower. The defensive players in the team have coped admirably so far this season under pressure but all of that hard work can be undone by the departure of players to go and play for their countries and the departure of arguably the best striker they have.
If they do get drawn in by a lucrative fee which could be dangled before them by West Brom then it will force Clarke into selecting younger and inexperienced players who are less prolific and less match fit to carry the attack of the team. It could be the single worst mistake that West Brom make right now.
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