With their Premier League status all but secured for another season, Tony Pulis is already preparing his summer wish list at West Bromwich Albion.
Although they could still be dragged into the relegation zone this term, it would now be hugely unlikely following a memorable 1-0 win at Manchester United on Saturday which puts the Baggies on 40 points. Such a total is beyond Queens Park Rangers and bottom-placed Burnley, but the third relegation place – currently occupied by Sunderland – could still surpass this number.
However, it would take an unusual sequence of events for all five times directly beneath them to overtake the Hawthorns outfit, so Pulis can be confident of arranging his summer plans based on their involvement in top-flight football once more. And according to the Daily Mail, the former Stoke City manager is set to launch a double raid on Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Molineux club, who missed out on a playoff place in the Championship by virtue of goal difference, paid Arsenal £2million for Benik Afobe in the January transfer window. The 22-year-old went on to score 13 league goals in 22 appearances for Kenny Jackett’s side to add to the 10 he scored whilst on loan at League One club MK Dons, and is under contract until the summer of 2018.
Pulis will try and persuade their West Midlands rivals to sell the England Under-21 international when the window reopens, but Jackett’s club are likely to demand a substantial profit on their outlay. They will, though, be powerless to prevent the popular Bakary Sako leaving in the coming weeks, as the Mali international will be out of contract and is keen to taste the Premier League.
The attacking midfielder has been at Wolves since 2012, and has gone on to score 36 goals in 118 league appearances for the club. Sako has claimed to have interest from both West Brom and Aston Villa, but the Daily Mail claims his demands of £50,000-per-week could put him beyond the current price structure at the Hawthorns unless the 27-year-old lowers his expectations.
Are Benik Afobe and Bakary Sako good enough to play in the Premier League, and would they improve Tony Pulis’ starting XI at West Bromwich Albion?