West Brom boss Mowbray eyeing 'Pires-type' signing

West Brom boss Tony Mowbray admits he could be in the market for a 'Robert Pires-type' on their return to the Premiership.

Avoiding all talk of any potential war-chest, Mowbray concentrated his efforts instead at flagging up continental teams who have managed to thrive while not, in essence, being one of the bigger names.

"The teams with the biggest budgets and best players invariably win," he said, "but there must be someone out there who can break that mould.

"And I'm looking forward to the opportunity of doing it. I look at Villarreal in Spain, for instance. They are not Real Madrid, they're not Barcelona, yet they stick in there. Like Alkmaar did a few years ago in Holland.

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"They might pay high salaries but they don't pay £30m for a player. They nick a Robert Pires and might pay him a big salary but they get good technical players who can compete with the best at their own game.

"For me, that's the answer. You find good, technical footballers who are never embarrassed by multi-millionaire superstars.

"The example is the players we had when I was in charge at Hibs. They could compete with the Old Firm. We had them and we knew they were on a pittance and yet they could go and compete with them week in, week out. I think if you get your recruitment right, find the right quality, you can bring players together, you can maybe build a team that can go and compete with money, with the big superstars.

"Why can't a team emerge from English football that bursts a bubble? That's got to be the challenge for every football club, to put a bubble in the teams that the media seem to bill as the big four. You've got to get in amongst it really and try and upset it and be successful.

"This football club is currently undergoing a period of transformation as regards recruitment. The chairman is aware he needs to spend some resources on scouting - hopefully in England, in the lower leagues, but if not - finding technical quality football players that you can put together like a jigsaw puzzle.

"I love Arsenal. Where do all these players come from. No-one's heard of them. Then all of a sudden they're in the team. As a manager, there's nothing better than having a diamond, finding a football player who fits your jigsaw puzzle, and you just can't wait to get him out there and show the world just how good he is.

"Have we got that in place? No we haven't, not as we would like at the moment, but it's something we're trying to do."

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