No Diangana, 20 y/o gem starts: How West Brom’s XI could look if 43 y/o replaced Bilic – opinion

Rumours continue to circulate over the future of Slaven Bilic at West Brom, even during the international break when the Premier League has downed tools for the time being.

The Daily Mirror claim that the Baggies hierarchy is still mulling over the prospect of firing the Croatian with the Midlands side winless in their opening eight matches.

His contract is set to expire at the end of the season and the relationship between the board and Bilic has become strained throughout the summer.

The report also suggests that Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer is among the front-runners to take over at the Hawthorns should they indeed relieve him of his duties.

But what changes would the former Leeds United midfielder make? How would Albion look under a fresh coach? Here’s one way the current West Brom side could line up if Bowyer swaps League One for the big time…

west brom predicted xi lineup lee bowyer appointed - No Diangana, 20 y/o gem starts: How West Brom's XI could look if 43 y/o replaced Bilic - opinion

The 43-year-old Addicks boss isn’t afraid to change his system, using as many as five different formations this season alone but it is one utilising three-at-the-back which poses most interest.

You could soon see Sam Johnstone protected by five defenders during the defensive phase with veteran Premier League winner Branislav Ivanovic being deployed in the middle just like Jason Pearce for the Londoners.

Either side of him could be a pair of younger players who have a bit of pace about them in Semi Ajayi and Dara O’Shea whilst Darnell Furlong and Kieran Gibbs take up positions as attacking wing-backs.

In the middle, Baggies skipper Jake Livermore keeps his place but is joined by rarely-seen academy gem Rekeem Harper.

The 20-year-old is one of their most promising talents and Bowyer has shown he isn’t afraid to trust youngsters with Alfie Doughty and Akin Famewo establishing themselves as two regulars at The Valley.

It means that Bowyer’s former loan star Conor Gallagher, who provided six goals and two assists in half a season for Charlton, is pushed forward to partner Matheus Pereira behind another ex-star, Karlan Grant.

The 2019 promotion-winning manager believes Albion’s £15m summer signing is a man who can “cause problems” and there can’t be anyone better to get that out of him after Grant scored 14 goals in just 29 matches under his stewardship.

It still very much remains to be seen just how long Bilic has left to keep his job.

AND in other news, £9m-rated “dangerous” beast is bringing shades of Peter Odemwingie back to the Hawthorns…

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