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West Brom: Evans relegation release reportedly just $4M

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Jonny Evans has been fantastic for West Bromwich Albion this season, shepherding the Baggies back line while being involved in as many goals as any player not named Salomon Rondon or Jay Rodriguez.

[ MORE: High profile loan for Palace ]

So it would make sense for West Brom to hang onto the player at almost all costs given its status as a team in danger of the drop after its slow start under Tony Pulis has kept its lackluster pace under Alan Pardew.

Here’s the rub: Some big clubs would like to purchase Evans, who has 18 months left on his deal but reportedly no interest in signing a new deal the Hawthorns. Even worse? Monday’s story that a Baggies’ relegation would make his buyout clause just over $4 million.

Defenders who cost more last summer on the Premier League market include Jan Bednarek, Nathan Ake, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Michael Keane, Florian Lejeune, Mathias Jorgensen, Andrew Robertson, Bruno Martins Indi, and many others.

Heck, Evans’ buyout clause is the same price Derby County paid Liverpool for Andre Wisdom. And these fees are all pre-Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool madness.

Considering only Swansea and Brighton have scored fewer league goals than the Baggies, who are just now committing to a two-striker approach under Pardew, does it make sense for West Brom to sell now?

Evans’ value at 18 months out will be more than it is at 12 months out even if the Baggies avoid relegation, but he’s possibly a lynch pin of the team. And the volatile value for attackers mean the $25-35 million he’d generate may not make for like-for-like value.

It’s not an easy decision, but desperate times call for similar measures. The Baggies have played in four nil-nils this season, and lost 1-0 to relegation rivals Southampton and Huddersfield Town away. Both of the reverse fixtures remain.

There are creative options here, too. Would Jurgen Klopp sanction a high(ish) profile attacker loan to WBA in order to pair Evans with Van Dijk? Same for Pep Guardiola at Man City?

Judging the Premier League’s in-season managerial changes

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Stoke City, Swansea City, and now Watford have all made managerial changes in the last month, and await the long-term response of their players to new bosses Paul Lambert (so far, so good), Carlos Carvalhal (mixed, but a win), and probably Javi Gracia, respectively.

That means 40 percent of Premier League clubs have ditched their Opening Day bosses this season. Some were overdue, others were debatable, and the latest — Watford’s sacking of Marco Silva after denying Everton’s pursuit of the boss — is a real head scratcher.

[ MORE: Watford fires Silva, blames Everton ]

How have the moves worked so far?

Crystal Palace
Frank De Boer — 0W-4L
Roy Hodgson — 6W-7D-7L

Hodgson is actually on pace to outdo Sam Allardyce‘s 8W-2D-11L campaign to save Palace’s 2016-17 season. FDB’s short-lived campaign is difficult to judge, his lone win coming in the League Cup against Championship competition, but there’s little debate as to whether Hodgson’s discipline has worked at Selhurst Park.

Everton
Ronald Koeman — 2W-2D-5L
David Unsworth (caretaker) — 2W-2D-1L
Sam Allardyce — 3W-4D-3L

Everton’s entire season has been the same tale: beat the lower half clubs but fail to meet expectations against almost anyone of merit. That’s taken a dive in recent weeks, as Allardyce has drawn West Brom twice and lost at Bournemouth. Jury’s out, and Allardyce has a lot to prove as another team brings him in and spends dough on his behalf.

Leicester City
Craig Shakespeare — 1W-3D-4L
Michael Appleton (caretaker) — 1W
Claude Puel — 7W-4D-4L

It’s now two-straight seasons of poor starts dooming the Leicester City manager, and Shakespeare understandably did not get patience considering the Foxes fired the architect of their stored PL run in Claudio Ranieri (who has Nantes fifth place in Ligue 1). Puel got a rough ride from expectation-heavy Saints fans, who’d probably love to have him back right now. This is an unqualified success, and Leicester may just make it back to Europe.

Swansea City
Paul Clement — 3W-3D-12L
Leon Britton (player manager) — 1D-1L
Carlos Carvalhal — 1W-1D-1L

It’s hard to gauge whether Carvalhal was the right hire, but Swans’ record has improved in the five matches since he was fired and the lone losses are to Liverpool and Spurs. The firing, it seems, was the right call.

West Brom
Tony Pulis — 2W-4D-6L
Gary Megson (caretaker) — 2D
Alan Pardew — 1W-4D-4L

The wins still need to come, but West Brom do look a more promising side and Alan Pardew’s desire to play two strikers certainly makes for better entertainment than Tony Pulis’ unit. Like Everton, the jury is still out. If we had to judge, we’d say it’s the right move for a fan base which prefers a more fashionable style of play (but also prefers being in the Premier League).

West Ham
Slaven Bilic — 2W-3D-6L
David Moyes — 4W-4D-4L

So far, Moyes is doing wonders for his reputation while performing feats that Everton is still seeking from Allardyce; West Ham has spent some money, and Moyes is getting performances out of Marko Arnautovic and using his width well (Arthur Masuaku has been impressive at full back).

Watford fires Silva, blames Everton

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Watford has fired Marco Silva as manager, and it’s blaming Everton.

The Hornets are 1W-2D-8L in their last 11 Premier League matches after Saturday’s 2-0 loss at Leicester City, and have won just three in the league since the Toffees sacked Ronald Koeman on Oct. 23.

[ MORE: Making sense of Silva situation ]

Watford sat fifth in the table at that point, and has dropped to 10th. That’s five points clear of the drop zone and eight points back of eighth.

Silva was chased hard by Everton, and Watford rejected all advances for the Portuguese boss. The Toffees ended up hiring Sam Allardyce in a move which has also gone south.

Here’s the guts of Watford’s released statement:

The Club is convinced the appointment of Silva was the right one and had it not been for the unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival for his services we would have continued to prosper under his leadership.

The catalyst for this decision is that unwarranted approach, something which the Board believes has seen a significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford FC has been jeopardised.

[ REPORT: Stoke to add hometown Harrison from NYCFC ]

Watford will appoint its ninth manager since the start of the 2012-13 season. It faces Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday before a midweek league visit to fellow relegation struggler Stoke City on Jan. 31.

Silva is the eighth manager fired since the beginning of the Premier League season, joining Frank De Boer, Craig Shakespeare, Ronald Koeman, Slaven Bilic, Tony Pulis, Paul Clement, and Mark Hughes.

Top Premier League storylines — Week 21

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The Premier League’s festive fixtures continue to test squad depth, and one in particular is in danger of losing its surefire Top Four footing.

[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks | PL streaming schedule ]

That’s the lead of our top storylines this weekend in England.


Will Mourinho get Man Utd back in the win column?
Manchester United vs. Southampton — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]

[ PL PREVIEW: Man Utd vs. Saints ]

Back-to-back draws have Jose Mourinho’s men 15 points back of Man City, but the manager will be more concerned about his status just one point ahead of Chelsea and six clear of fifth place Spurs. The good news is that Saints defense looked awful in getting buried by Spurs, and Mauricio Pellegrino has some big questions to ask of his men — and himself — at Old Trafford.


Is Liverpool going to continue its charge up the table?
Liverpool vs. Leicester City — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Unbeaten in 15, the hosts are looking for the first season sweep in this series since 2001-02, but history says it won’t be easy: The last two seasons have seen both sides take a win from each other in Premier League play. The Reds and Foxes have allowed 53 goals between them this season, so there’s a good chance of offense on Saturday at Anfield.

[ PL PREVIEW: Liverpool vs. Leicester City ]

 (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

 

Was sloppy midweek a sign for City?
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City — 7 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Manchester City produced a lot of chances but only converted one at Newcastle United, its first 1-0 match in the Premier League since late September. City is a win away from tying Pep Guardiola‘s Bayern Munich record for consecutive wins (19), and have yet to lose this season. Palace will be facing a City back line still looking for health, so is there some danger at Selhurst Park?


Will the Baggies make it four calendar months without a win?
West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal — 11:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]

Alan Pardew‘s West Brom has not won since it was Tony Pulis‘ West Brom, and that means September, October, November, and now perhaps December will pass without a league win if the Baggies cannot manage an upset against Arsene Wenger‘s bunch. Arsenal hasn’t lost in five matches, but boasts just two wins from that bunch. Ripe for an upset, or a breakout performance?


Here’s the new boss, and the old boss
Newcastle United vs. Brighton and Hove Albion — 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]

Chris Hughton‘s done a fine job at several Premier League stops, and the ex-Newcastle manager looks for a season sweep of his old charges when he matches wits with Rafa Benitez at St. James’ Park. More importantly, a win would boost the Seagulls six points clear of the Magpies and multiple results clear of the drop zone.

Report: Middlesbrough, Pulis in talks over vacant coaching position

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It seems as though Middlesbrough isn’t wasting any time in its managerial search just under 24 hours after the club fired its coach.

Sky Sports is reporting that Boro are in active discussions with Tony Pulis regarding the club’s vacant coaching position.

[ MORE: PST’s Midseason Premier League awards ]

Pulis, 59, last managed Premier League side West Bromwich Albion before being sacked in November. The former Bristol Rovers defender has managed eight different English sides throughout his career as a coach.

Former manager Garry Monk was sacked by Middlesbrough on Saturday, after leading the club to ninth place in the Championship through 23 matches.

Monk had taken the job at the Riverside Stadium back in June, following Aitor Karanka‘s departure.

At the moment, Middlesbrough is a mere three points out of sixth place in England’s second flight.