Five players West Brom must keep hold of in the upcoming transfer window
Darnell Furlong ushers Matheus Pereira of West Bromwich Albion off the pitch as he is sent off after a VAR review during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns on December 06, 2020 in West Bromwich, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Mike Egerton - Pool/Getty Images)

A 19th placed finish in the 2020/21 Premier League season will mean an immediate return to the Championship for West Bromwich Albion

Amassing just 26 points across 38 games, Slaven Bilic's replacement Sam Allardyce was unable to steer the Baggies' to safety, thus losing his faultless record of always avoiding relegation. 

With a handful of quality littered across the squad, the Albion hierarchy won't be short of Premier League piranhas looking to entice the recently relegated players back to the top division. 

With that said, here are five West Brom players that need to stay for the club to have a chance of an immediate return to the Premier League.

  • Matheus Pereira

The most important man to keep at the club, along with the most difficult, is Brazillian Matheus Pereira.

In his debut season at the club, the former FC Nürnberg loanee was instrumental in their promotion and played a pivotal role in their attacking arsenal. Providing 8 goals and 16 assists, his efforts alongside Callum Robinson and Grady Diangana in the second half of the season saw them beat Brentford and Fulham to the second automatic promotion place. 

Signing permanently from Sporting Lisbon after a successful Championship campaign with the club, the attacking midfielder endured a successful season in the Premier League. The 25-year-old contributed towards just under 50% of West Brom's goals, ending the season scoring and assisting more goals than any of his teammates (11 goals, six assists). 

Signing a four-year deal with the club almost a year ago, West Brom is in a strong position when it comes to fending off possible clubs looking to come in for Pereira. However, recent reports will concern West Brom fans. 

According to TEAMtalk, Albion are willing to sell Pereira for as little as £15m. With Norwich needing a replacement for outgoing Emiliano Buendia, the Canaries' could be an immediate route back to the Premier League for the Baggies' star player. 

  • Sam Johnstone

Despite conceding more goals than any other goalkeeper in the top two divisions of English football, Sam Johnstone was one of the more impressive players in West Brom's single-season stint back in the Premier League.

Collecting both the Players' and Fans' Player of the Season at the end of the campaign, it was the Englishman's impressive performances that kept his side in with a chance of remaining in the division - even though they did eventually succumb to relegation. 

Man of the match displays away against both Manchester City and Liverpool helped his side earn reputable draws, with a clean sheet against what was a dominant Sheffield United at the Hawthorns in November a particular highlight.

Although the former Manchester United man only kept six clean sheets across the season, his league-high 166 saves earned him a place in England's Euro 2020 squad, replacing the injured Nick Pope. It is likely the West Brom man will occupy the third choice spot in the goalkeeper ranks, with both Jordan Pickford and Dean Henderson ahead of him in Gareth Southgate's pecking order. 

According to TalkSport, West Ham United are interested in the 28-year-old as a backup to first-choice Lukasz Fabianski, whose position looks to be in little threat after helping the Hammers' to a sixth-placed Premier League finish. 

  • Karlan Grant 

Purchased in the summer transfer window from Huddersfield Town, Karlan Grant was brought in to aid West Brom's attacking woes, and drag them out of the relegation zone. 

Scoring four goals in 13 appearances for the Terriers' back in 2019, there was optimism the forward could build on a promising debut season in the Premier League.

However, things did not go as planned. After scoring against Brighton in his second match to salvage a point at the Amex Stadium, the forward failed to score in his next 19 appearances and didn't make a start after the beginning of February. After his final start of the season against Tottenham Hotspur, the striker was an unused substitute on 10 occasions, playing just 44 minutes in five appearances off the bench. 

Although the Premier League looked to be one step too high for Grant at this point in his career, with the Englishman still only 23-years-old, the former Charlton man could be a key man in West Brom's promotion push. 

Before joining the club, the attacker had a single season with Huddersfield in the Championship. In 43 matches, Grant scored 19 times, as well as assisting on four occasions, steering his side away from back-to-back relegations by just three points. 

  • Grady Diangana

After impressing in the Championship when on loan from West Ham, many were expecting Diangana to be of similar importance when he made the permanent switch to the Midlands before the start of the season. 

However, a season decimated by injury saw the promising 23-year-old start just 15 league games, with eight of these coming in the first nine matches of the season. 

Similar to Grant, his start to life in the Premier League was promising, scoring on his second appearance of the season against Everton. Disappointingly for the Albion, a similar trend was undertaken as the man previously mentioned, with this being his only goal all season. 

At the age of 23, it was once again the case of the top division being a step too high for the winger, with another developmental season in the Championship awaiting.

For West Brom, keeping Diangana may not be too challenging due to his rather eventless season, but would certainly help them push towards their ambition of an immediate return to the Premier League.

With a combined goal and assist record of 15 in the 2019/20 Championship season, his dangerous presence on the wing would cause havoc for opposition defenders. Although unlikely all three of the attackers mentioned will remain at the club, a front line of Diangana, Pereira, and Grant would outscore almost any team West Brom face in the Championship, and would almost automatically put them in promotion contention, before even considering the defensive incomings and outgoings. 

  • Darnell Furlong 

Only beaten by Johnstone in the West Brom ranks when considering minutes played in the Premier League in the 2020/21 campaign, Furlong was an integral part of the Baggies' defence.

Usually occupying the right-back position, it was the 25-year-old's versatility on that side that was the most impressive.

A constant supply line when bursting down the wing, only Pereira beat the Englishman on assists. Only three right-backs in the entirety of the league bettered his three assists, with all of those coming from sides finishing in the top six. 

Furlong also impressed from a defensive standpoint. According to Whoscored, only Kyle Bartley won more aerial duels per match, with a respectable 1.3 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, and 2.2 clearances showing why both Bilic and Allardyce started him in 32 Premier League games combined. 

Playing a part in West Brom's previous promotion campaign, where he shared the right-back role with Nathan Ferguson, the former Queens Park Rangers player who has previous Championship credentials. As the only natural right-back in the squad, Furlong is likely to begin the season as a guaranteed starter but will need cover to be brought in to both push him to the next level, as well as allow him to rest in an unforgiving 46 game season.