Boosting Clarke's forward options is Board's priorityRICHARD Garlick says Albion are ‘well prepared’ for what is a big summer for the club in the transfer market.
The Baggies’ Sporting & Technical Director (Designate) claims the club’s recruitment staff are working hard behind the scenes to evolve and strengthen the playing squad.
And Garlick is confident supporters will see the fruits of their labour in the coming weeks.
“We’ve done a lot of groundwork for this transfer window and we’re certainly not panicking because we haven’t brought in any signings at this early stage,” said Garlick.
“June is traditionally a quiet month in terms of transfer movement.
“But we’re well prepared for the summer ahead in terms of player recruitment and have lots of plates spinning.
“Things can drop into place at different times. We could have two or three come in at once or there might be a bit of a gap.
“But we won’t be signing anyone for the sake of it. The most important thing is that we sign players who can improve us – and that’s what we’re endeavouring to do.”
With 17-goal top scorer Romelu Lukaku returning to parent club Chelsea after a successful season on loan, Garlick revealed that improving Steve Clarke’s attacking options is a priority – both in the central and wide positions.
He also claimed it is vital the club recruit players of the right character who suit the Baggies’ style of play.
“If you go through the squad, it’s pretty easy to work out what we need and we have a big summer ahead,” he added.
“We’re looking for certain types of player to fit in and work within our style.
“For example, there are plenty of strikers and wingers out there who we could take but they won’t all fit our style of play.
“We know the system we’ve got and have been working hard to identify which players we want to bring in.”
Garlick was interviewed alongside Jeremy Peace. The Chairman said it is vital Albion become increasingly creative in the transfer market to make their modest resources stretch as far as possible.
He also revealed the club will endeavour to take full advantage of the domestic loan market. Albion are able to sign a maximum of two players from fellow top-flight clubs.
“Being creative in the transfer market is always a good thing,” said Peace.
“We’ll try to be creative on deals and think outside the box. It’s about making our resources go a lot further.
“For example, Ben Foster was a good transfer. We loaned him from Birmingham City and, having worked with him for a year, signed him permanently on terms which we believed were attractive to us.
“The one thing we are going to try to do this year, if we possibly can, is take two Premier League loans.”
Garlick believes Albion’s highest top-flight finish (eighth) for 32 years – which came on the back of 11th- and tenth-place finishes – will prove a big asset in attracting players to The Hawthorns
“We’re in a different position to where we have been,” he added.
“We’re starting to attract players who in the past may not have been interested in us.
“Players, including those in foreign countries, are much more aware of where we are and what we’ve done. What we’ve achieved over the past three years can only help us with our recruitment.
“The type of football we play is also a big plus.”
Garlick believes the arrival of newly-appointed Head of Analysis, Dave McDonough, will also prove vital in the club’s efforts to bring in new players of the right type and quality.
“We have excellent intel on prospective signings and our analysis has been improving since Dave arrived,” he added.
“He’s added to the good recruitment setup we already had here.”
Peace added: “It’s about analysing the data. Our database on players is growing but we now need to improve how we analyse it – a process that Dave has begun.
“The experience Dave’s had at Valencia, Inter Milan and Liverpool should prove invaluable.
“Dave analyses both team and individual player performance, looking at four aspects: technical, tactical, physical and psychological.
“For example, he compares our analysis of prospective signings in match situations against our current players. It’s a form of benchmarking which will be important when we’re determining which players to keep and where we need to strengthen.
“To aid this benchmarking process, Richard will be forging closer links between his four key departments – First Team, Medical Services, Recruitment and Academy – to improve the overall performance of the club.
“This will also hopefully mean we’ll be much better placed to de-risk the signing of players.
“We’ve got to keep pushing and moving on in terms of player recruitment and I think player analysis is an incredibly important part of that.”