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Five players West Bromwich Albion should sign

Sports Mole picks out five players that will help West Bromwich Albion carry on their positive performances from last season.

Many people had predicted that following the appointment of an untested Steve Clarke last summer, West Bromwich Albion would struggle in the Premier League.

The Scot and his team proved their doubters wrong though, finishing in the top half of the table and playing some attractive football along the way.

The task now is to build upon their good work and not let it go to waste. One way to do that is to bolster the squad and so Sports Mole has picked out five players that we believe will help keep the Baggies on the upward curve.

Chris Baird, Free agent

It is thought that Clarke was keen to sign Danny Simpson following his release from Newcastle United. The full-back has since opted for Queens Park Rangers though, with the lights of London seemingly suiting his lifestyle more.

When you consider the fact that Simpson has made the front page of the newspapers rather than the back more recently, West Brom have probably had a bit of an escape.

While Baird may not be the greatest footballer in the world, you'll never catch him stumbling out of clubs at 3am with Tulisa Contostavlos hanging off him!

The Northern Ireland defender's best trait is the fact that he can play anywhere in the rearguard, as well as being able to fill in at the base of midfield if needed.

He would not command a transfer fee either after his contract with Fulham expired yesterday.

Chris Baird scores for Fulham© PA Photos

Craig Gardner, Sunderland

With Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob already in the engine room, you could be forgiven for thinking that West Brom do not need any more additions in the deeper midfield role.

It's a long season though and with the possibility of injuries, suspension or just loss of form, alternative options are always a major bonus.

What Gardner would offer that the other pair don't is goals. He takes free kicks and penalties, as well as being capable of scoring from distance.

He was also born just outside Birmingham, which would mean that there would be no concerns over him not settling in the area.

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio is thought to be open to selling the majority of the squad that he has inherited at the Stadium of Light, which could see West Brom land Gardner for less than his market value.

Craig Gardner celebrates with Sebastian Larsson moments after scoring on December 2, 2012© PA Photos

Scott Sinclair, Manchester City

At present the West Brom midfield is full of hard-working players, some of whom have decent ability on the ball. The likes of James Morrison, Chris Brunt and Graham Dorrans are all more than capable of picking out a pass.

However, what they do not have much of is pace - someone that can relieve some pressure by beating two or three players and keeping hold of possession.

Unless he lost it on the Manchester City bench last season, Sinclair has pace to burn. He can play on either flank, but is more comfortable operating on the right-hand side of the pitch.

What he would bring is a direct approach which can cause problems for defenders. Prior to his move to Man City, he also showed at Swansea City that he is capable of scoring goals.

Demba Ba, Chelsea

There are not too many managers in the game that will have a better relationship with Jose Mourinho than Clarke, who was part of the Portuguese's coaching staff during his first spell at Chelsea.

Mourinho is known to reward those that are loyal to him and it is something that Clarke could look to exploit. He borrowed Romelu Lukaku last season from the Blues, but reports have claimed that Mourinho is keen to keep hold of the young Belgian this time around.

One player that he may be willing to part with though, probably on a loan basis, is Ba. He may have only signed on at Stamford Bridge in January, but his chances appear to be limited.

The Baggies would find they he would bring similar qualities to the ones that Lukaku did. He's tall, physical and can score all types of goals.

He is proven in England as well, so his arrival would not carry an element of risk.

Matej Vydra, Udinese

With Lukaku and Marc Antoine-Fortune gone, a lot of the goalscoring responsibility for the upcoming campaign looks as though it is going to land on the shoulders of Shane Long.

The fact is that the Republic of Ireland international needs help. Ba would be a start, but every squad needs at least three or ideally four frontmen. Markus Rosenberg and Peter Odemwingie are still around at the time of writing, but both are expected to leave shortly.

It may only have been in the Championship, but Vydra scored an impressive 20 times while on loan at Watford last season.

He is not just a goalscorer though. The 21-year-old possesses plenty of pace and also has a creative eye, which makes him the perfect partner. The Czech Republic international will also work hard off the ball and rarely gives defenders any time in possession.

In truth, there are a lot of similarities between him and Long.

Matej Vydra in action against Blackpool on November 24, 2012© PA Photos

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