And Clarke reiterates his thoughts on using young gunsSTEVE Clarke has backed Albion’s recruitment team to continue unearthing more gems – at home and abroad - amidst fierce competition from other clubs.
The Baggies boss was, in particular, delighted with the success of last summer’s Bosman signing Claudio Yacob.
The Argentina midfielder was relatively unknown in this country before his arrival at The Hawthorns from South America but proved to be one of the Barclays Premier League’s top bargains.
And, while Clarke admits top-flight rivals will be casting their net further and wider, he insists success in finding the right players is more down to the quality of the scouting and research.
“I don’t think it is any more difficult than it was before,” he said.
“The secret is not looking in different places; the secret is finding the right player.
“It doesn’t matter where you look.
“Sometimes they’re under your nose and sometimes they are a little bit further away.
“But the secret is always to find the right player and, I think, by and large, with the boys we got in last season, we found the right players.
“Different players do well at different clubs.
“Some transfers work, some don’t.
“A case in point here would be [Yassine] El Ghanassy.
“It didn’t work out for him.
“He’s gone back to Holland and has done very well during the second half of the season.
“Some players fit to a club and some don’t – that’s football.”
As well as looking outside the Hawthorns Clarke also continues to keep a keen eye on Albion’s Academy products after giving first-team opportunities to George Thorne and Isaiah Brown last term.
“They get a chance if they are good enough; that will always be the case," he added.
“I was fortunate enough to play first-team football when I was 18.
“It didn’t do me any harm.
“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.
“It’s down to the individual.
“If you’ve got a good, strong group, like we have, it obviously helps a little bit, but if you’re good enough you will be involved.”