Romelu Lukaku

Arguably, last season West Brom were the surprise package of the Premier League finishing in an impressive 8th position, but not before flirting with European positions at various stages of the season. In the end it was 3 defeats in the final 4 games that put a small dampener in what was a largely successful debut season for manager Steve Clarke.

The use of the loan system to grab Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea was an undoubted shrewd and clever move made by the manager that came to be repaid by the Belgian’s impressive tally of 17 strikes in the Premier League (which propelled him above any player’s total from his parent club).

However, he has now returned to the fold at Chelsea under José Mourinho and has told the club’s TV channel he wants to be an integral part of the team for the upcoming season.

Now, with Peter Odemwingie looking like unwanted baggage and likely to leave from the club this summer (judging by his deadline day escapades, he’ll do it himself), coupled with Marc-Antoine Fortune’s departure to Wigan, Clarke has three strikers at his disposal: Shane Long, Markus Rosenberg and newly acquired Nicolas Anelka.

Long looks to be a sure-fire bet to be a regular feature on the team sheet, but arguably Anelka, with his age at 34 and his erratic temperament, could be a bit-part player. Rosenburg, also was favoured from the bench and not from the outset and so he could be restricted in his appearances too.

So who will regularly partner Shane Long and helping West Brom consolidate, if not improve, their standing from last season as a Top 10 club? Who will leave an indelible mark on this season from a West Brom point of view?  We profile 5 candidates here.

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This article was first posted on July 26, 2013