West Bromwich Albion's purchase of John Hartson is one serious statement of intent.

When you add his transfer fee, which could rise to #1 million, to the potential transfer fees they have rebuffed for their squad this summer - #15 million - then it is plain to see they are definitely walking the walk.

The cynics amongst us mocked when Jeremy Peace steadfastly refused bids for Curtis Davies, Paul Robinson, Nathan Ellington and Zoltan Gera and considered it only a matter of time before they departed The Hawthorns.

It has become obvious, however, that the aforementioned quartet will start the campaign as Albion players pending an exorbitant offer.

An aggressive declaration was circulated from Peace sending a caveat to all Premiership clubs that they 'are wasting their time' in attempting to dismantle Robson's team. Yet the current squad, for all its strengths, was woefully short of goals last term and with Rob Earnshaw and Geoff Horsfield now departed, that problem needs to be addressed.

Step forward Hartson. Twenty goals last season against the backdrop of huge personal upheaval was no mean feat and Hartson is itching to prove he is here for the duration rather than kill time at the end of his career.

"I am looking to have good pre-season as I scored 20 goals last year and I had a difficult time at the back end of last season," he said candidly.

"There were a few personal problems I was going through so, all in all, I was relatively pleased with 20 goals.

"When I spoke to Bryan Robson I told him that if the deal could be done, then I would like to join him and play here.

"It wasn't about money and touting myself around a few clubs, as I could have earned more money if I had played at Celtic this season.

"I had one year left, but I really wanted the challenge of trying to take Albion back to the Premiership.

"It is a big club with a tremendous fan base and the squad of players is superb. There are a lot of internationals in the squad and the whole thing really appeals to me."

Comparisons with the last Celtic thirtysomething to land in Birmingham, Chris Sutton, already portray Hartson in a positive light. Whilst Sutton exuded the demeanour of a man who would rather be anywhere else in the country than Birmingham (City), Hartson's affable approach is sure to ingratiate him far more to the paying public.

His arrival has been greeted with suitable bombast by the Albion hierarchy and with a #2 million bid tabled for Jason Roberts, Hartson is unlikely to be the last addition.

With Roberts's likely destination to be Blackburn or Charlton however, Robson is still actively searching for at least two more targets.

A experienced centre-half is still a priority to dovetail alongside the precocious talent of Curtis Davies whilst another forward is high priority.

Kevin Campbell still hasn't agreed a new deal and is expected to be increasingly peripheral even if he signs on the dotted line whilst the club appear to be ambivalent regarding Kanu's future.

All that remains is for Hartson to prove his worth on the field of play and his potency will go a long way towards determining both Albion and Robson's future.

"I have no grudge to bear with Celtic at all," said Hart-son when asked about the manner of his departure from Parkhead. The manager was absolutely fantastic with me, as were the board; they paid me a lot of money and gave me good contracts for the five years I was there.

"I have nothing but good words to say about them. I am not leaving under a cloud. I am leaving as a champion as we won the league last year.

"If we (Albion) can mange to hold onto the majority of the best players we have got in the squad and add one or two others, then, who knows?

"Hopefully, we can have a good year. I don't think clubs are in the business of giving 31-year-olds three and four year contracts," he added, referring to his two-year deal.

"I am not stupid, as I am 31 not 25. I am not going to play forever so I want to try to finish my career as strongly as I can. This challenge is something I want and I am looking forward to getting stuck into it."