Tony Mowbray will fight to ensure that Diomansy Kamara, Zoltan Gera and Curtis Davies remain with West Bromwich Albion — but he accepts that every player has his price.
Kamara is being linked with a #3 million move to AS Roma of Italy, Davies is being linked with a #5.5 million transfer to Aston Villa and Gera is being linked with just about everybody.
But Mowbray, the Albion manager, is unruffled. It is probable that defender Chris Perry will leave The Hawthorns but Mowbray, who began the season as manager of Hibernian, is more likely to sign high-profile players rather than let his best ones leave.
"I have heard all the speculation [about Kamara and Gera and Davies] but I want all of our best players to stay, simple as that," Mowbray said. "I shouldn't be surprised at all of these reports. I had it at Hibs for two years. Every day, seemingly, a player was off to sign for another club.
"Of course, every player has his price. I know that. But they are all on contract here and things will only happen if it is right for West Brom. If the offers are right, we will see what can be done.
"But nobody who we want to stay will be leaving. And, as far as transfers into the club, nobody will be coming in who we don't want.
"How active do I expect to be during the transfer window? I don't know. I will see if the telephone rings. It hasn't rung yet."
Changes are sure to be made, however, as Mowbray looks to build a team in his own image. He is largely happy with the Albion squad but thinks that a bit of fine tuning here and there will ensure freshness without compromising stability.
"I don't want to make sweeping statements about changes," Mowbray said. "Every football club takes a team picture each season, and there are changes every year. And you don't even think about the change, because a couple come in and maybe a few slide out the door.
"At Hibs, after two years, only three or four survived at the end from the ones who were there at the start. That wasn't a conscious effort to change things. It was like that for a variety of reasons.
"I am not about to clear everything out but I would suggest that there will be some changes and few faces on the pitch when it comes to next year."
The 5-0 victory at home to Coventry City last Saturday provided a sense of justice to Albion, who had dominated previous matches but rarely gained the result they deserved.
"I think we have been threatening to score a lot of goals in one match," Mowbray said. "Against Coventry, it was just one of those when everything went in for us.
"We have created a lot of chances in every match we have played but I think Coventry will have felt a bit hard-done-by.
"I don't really look at the league table much. Birmingham are top now but they couldn't win a game six weeks ago. And look at Cardiff; who would have expected them to be where they are after leading for a time?"
Albion would be significantly closer to Birmingham in the table if they had performed as well away as they do at home. Albion have gained 26 points at home this season but only ten points away.
"It is not what we do at home that concerns me," Mowbray said. "It is what we do away. If we can put that right, then we will be all right. The match away to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday will be as big a test as we have had.
"I think we have our finger on the problem concerning our away results and we aim to put that right. There were positives when we drew away to Barnsley, and we did create chances, although we did not play well at Sheffield Wednesday.
"I am confident that the next away victory is just around the corner."
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