This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Under Slaven Bilic, West Bromwich Albion Football Club were meant to embark on a fresh start, one that was full of positivity surrounding a new dawn.
Indeed there are some positives to be had since he arrived. The sheer desire Bilic has in leading a team in the Championship should be enough to fill even the glummest of faces involved at the Hawthorns.
Rekeem Harper has signed a new contract whilst the arrival on loan of a player who was deemed to be one of Benfica’s best a couple of years ago, Filip Krovinovic, also bodes well.
However, West Brom could still be about to make a mistake.
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As far as their youth academy goes, it appears to be in a spot of bother. Louie Barry has left for Barcelona, Morgan Rogers is reportedly on his way to Manchester City whilst two of their leading figures in matters regarding youth players have also fled the scene.
Mike Scott who led the U18 team to an FA Youth Cup semi-final has taken up a post at Derby whilst Mark Harrison has moved across the Midlands to Aston Villa.
Could things get any worse? Well, only if Albion now completely disregard their youth set-up.
Coming through the ranks, they have some fantastically gifted footballers. Rayhaan Tulloch and Jamie Soule, who scored a combined 25 goals at youth level last season are two fine examples.
Yet, they still need to be wary, particularly with the transfer business they conclude this summer.
Last week, A Bola, via Sport Witness, suggested that the Baggies could be in for 20-year-old Porto defender Diogo Queiros.
Meanwhile, The Telegraph has since reported that they’re interested in 21-year-old Arsenal man Krystian Bielik.
The latter would be a shrewd piece of business, particularly after the displays he put in at the recent European U21 Championships. Playing in both midfield and defence, he popped up with two goals and completed 87.8% of his passes.
However, his possible arrival, as good as it could be, may put Sam Field in danger. Similarly, the potential incoming of Queiros would be detrimental for Dara O’Shea.
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Field struggled as it was last season to get in the side, starting just four times in the league, whilst O’Shea proved he was capable at Exeter, being tipped to go to the very top by Matt Taylor when he was on loan.
Therefore, after seeing two of their rising stars depart this summer, West Brom need to put faith in youth.
They need to show there is a route to the first team, and there could be no better way of doing so than by thrusting both O’Shea and Field into more prominent roles next term.
It could prove to be a huge error if they don’t.