In modern day football, players are always being linked to different clubs. This tends to be the work of their agents to try and spark some transfer activity. Just this summer, Albion were linked with Dimitri Payet and Shinji Kagawa, these rumours were wide of the mark. However, we take a look at players that Albion had genuine interest in and were close to bringing to the club.
As an Albion fan you’ll find this article both interesting and heart breaking. After reading some of the players that the club turned down you’ll kicking yourself, as we have Premier league and Champions League winners, over 300 Bundesliga goals and one Ballon d’Or winner all included in the side.
It is only fair to acknowledge Japanese goalkeeper Eji Kawashima who told various media outlets that “Everything is in place” for a move to The Baggies in 2011. A statement which left the club bemused as there was no interest in the player at all. So, unfortunately, Kawashima won’t be featuring in our team.
In 2011, Albion were looking to replace Scott Carson in the No.1 spot, and American Friedel was very close to signing for the Baggies.
The then 40-year old had just left neighbours Aston Villa and he held advanced talks with the Albion, who were confident he would sign.
However, Friedel held out for a move back to former club Liverpool, so the club turned their attention to Blues keeper Ben Foster, who would go on to make over 200 appearances for the club. Friedel would go on to sign for Tottenham.
It’s a 3-5-2 formation were going with, starting with Real Madrid and France international Raphael Varane. Although never reported in the media, it was John Clarke, son of former manager Steve Clarke, who broke this news.
He revealed that his Dad was “very close” to bringing Varane to the club in the summer of 2012 via Twitter.
Since then, Varane has gone on to win two La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and a World Cup.
Tony Pulis was very keen to bring ex-England captain John Terry to the club in 2017 when his Chelsea contract expired.
The Baggies had inquired about Terry’s availability in January that year, and its thought that the player was open to joining the club.
Instead Terry would sign for Aston Villa where he is now a part of Dean Smith’s backroom team.
Virgil Van Dijk
The world’s most expensive defender almost signed for Albion during his Celtic days. Instead, he joined Southampton for £13 million before his world-record £75 million move to Liverpool.
West Brom chose not to pursue Van Dijk, a decision which forced ex-scout Stuart Millar to leave the club. The Scotsman had told the club that they had to sign the player and that they would “double their money in two years”. How right he was.
It was the summer of 2014 where Albion were linked with Parma winger Jonathan Biabiany.
The club were reportably in advanced talks after bidding £6 million for the speedster. The club were in need of reinforcements out wide after Morgan Amalfitano and Scott Sinclair had left the club. A move would never materialise and Biabiany would go on to sign for Inter Milan a year later.
Once dubbed the “next Vieira” by then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, ex-French international Abou Diaby was very close to signing for the Baggies, after spending nine injury-plagued years in North London.
Diaby had a medical at the clubs training ground and Tony Pulis was prepared to offer the midfielder a pay-as-you-play contract. However, become a deal was finalised, Diaby agreed to join Ligue 1 outfit Marseille. He would ho on to play only 6 games for Marseille before retiring in 2017.
Roy Hodgson had agreed a deal with ex-England international Owen Hargreaves after he left Manchester United, only for Manchester City to come in at the final hour and sign the player.
Hargreaves had passed a medical at Albion after he had posted daily fitness videos on YouTube. It was revealed in 2017 that Hargreaves would of joined West Brom had it not been for a chance meeting with Man City coach David Platt, who convinced the Citizens to offer him a contract.
Hargreaves is now a regular pundit on BT Sports.
The second current Real Madrid player in the team.
In 2007, Albion had a deal agreed in principle with Dinamo Zagreb for promising Croatian midfielder Luka Modric. It was a deal which was likely to be completed if the Baggies secured promotion back to the Premier League
It wasn’t to be, Tony Mowbray’s attractive side fell at the final hurdle as they lost 1-0 to Derby in the Play-off final at Wembley.
Modric would sign for Tottenham a year later in a record £16.5 million move and go on to win the the Ballon d’Or in 2018.
Albion had a £2.6 million deal agreed with Lille for the versatile Salomon Kalou in the summer of 2013. However, the former Chelsea man rejected the chance to move to The Hawthorns as he had no interest of leaving the French side.
Kalou signed for German outfit Hertha BSC in 2014 and has now made over 150 appearances for the club scoring 51 goals.
Tony Mowbray must be kicking himself when he looks back at some of the players he could signed during his time at the Albion.
Mowbray wanted to bring 20-year old Lech Poznan striker Robert Lewandowski to the club in the January 2009 transfer window to help bolster the clubs hopes of avoiding relegation.
The Polish side wanted £2.6 million but Albion had no money to spend, instead they brought in Jay Simpson on loan from Arsenal.
Albion were relegated that year whereas Lewandowski has gone on to score over 200 Bundesliga for both Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
Completing the team is current Premier League golden boot holder Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Albion were watching Aubameyang back in 2011 whilst he was on-loan at Saint-Etienne from AC Milan, and former head of scouting Stuart White revealed that West Brom had the chance to bring the Gabon-international on-loan with a 2 million euro fee tied into the deal.
The Baggies decided against a move for Aubameyang, who would later join Dortmund for 13 million euros before joining Arsenal in 2018 for a club-record £56 million.