03 August 2008
According to some stories doing the rounds, Chinese midfielder Zheng Zhi has joined Albion in a ?2 million deal from Charlton Athletic. However, he is about to start playing for China in their Olympic side and will therefore not sign until after the games have finished. Zheng moved to Charlton for an intial fee of ?1.25 million from Chinese club Shandong Luneng, having played 12 games on loan in the 2006/7 season, with a further ?750,000 due based on appearances. According to Charlton's official site he can play anywhere in midfield as well as up front or in defence. Having scored nine goals, he finished second to Matt Holland in Charlton's poll for Player of the Year, and came fifth in FourFourTwo's list of best Football League players in March 2008.
If true, he could be the "battling midfielder" many fans have been crying out for, although who would make way for him in the middle of the park remains to be seen. But if Albion do adopt the 4-5-1 formation for a large proportion of games, as has been suggested, such a decision won't need to be made. And with Ishmael Miller, Roman Bednar and Luke Moore all currently out of action thanks to training ground injuries from last week, it might not be a big "if".
31 July 2008: Two more defenders?
18 July 2008: Goalkeeper signs too!
15 July 2008: Defender signs!
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