Defenders Madjid Bougherra and Abdoulaye Meite have emerged as two of the “irons in the fire” that West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray hopes come to fruition.
The Baggies have had a £2 million bid accepted by Charlton Athletic for Bougherra and the Algerian, also being chased by Real Betis, was expected in the Midlands for talks this week.
The deal for Meite, currently at Bolton Wanderers, is not as far progressed although he is expected to be available for about the same fee.
Albion are in urgent need of central defensive cover following the departure of Martin Albrechtsen and the release of Bostjan Cesar.
Carl Hoefkens, Pedro Pele and Jared Hodgkiss made up a makeshift back three for Tuesday night’s friendly against Northampton Town which, Baggies supporters will hope, is miles away from the unit that will face Arsenal on the opening day.
Neverthless, numbers are in short supply with only Leon Barnett and Neil Clement, the pairing that finished last season, to choose from.
On a more encouraging note, South Korea’s decision not to take Kim Do-Hoen to the Olympics will leave Mowbray’s central midfield options in a healthier state.
Albion are already resigned to being without summer signing Gianni Zuiverloon, who will be part of the Holland squad for the Beijing Games, for the Premier League season-opener at the Emirates Stadium.
Assistant manager Mark Venus was impressed with Kim’s performance at Sixfields. He said: “You can see the quality he has got with the ball.
“Once we have gelled he will be a good player for the club. When he came here we knew he had the talent but it’s not easy for players to adapt.
“It will take time for him to get up to pace with the English game and for the team to get used to the way he plays but when he does he will be a good addition. I think the Premier League might suit him better [than the Championship]. It’s more technical and open.”
As far as the side’s preparations for the Premier League were going – one win in five warm-up matches and only one goal for one of the strikers, Ishmael Miller – Venus was not too concerned.
He added: “I don’t know if we are on schedule because we are going into the unknown.
“As managers we have never been there before - we have as players but we know are going into a difficult league.
“We do not know if we are on schedule or off schedule, we are just trying to prepare the team the best way we can.”