Baggies eye further signings
Roy Hodgson insists West Brom are chasing further targets after presenting Billy Jones and Gareth McAuley.
Last Updated: 08/07/11 5:25pm
Roy Hodgson insists the Baggies are working hard to make further signings after presenting Billy Jones and Gareth McAuley as West Brom players.
The defensive duo have each signed a three-year contract at the Hawthorns with Zoltan Gera set to become Hodgson's third free transfer of the summer having opened contract talks over a return to West Brom.
That deal is set to be completed if the Hungarian midfielder can prove his fitness after undergoing ankle surgery, but Hodgson has assured Baggies fans his reinforcements will not end there.
"There's a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the moment, we'd like to strengthen our squad further," the Baggies boss told Sky Sports News.
"We moved very quickly for Gareth and Billy because as players that are going to be free from their clubs, they attract a lot of interest.
"As we'd identified them as two players that we would like at our club it was important that we moved quickly and attempt to persuade them that this was where their future lies."
Gera has just come out of contract at Fulham and had surgery to rectify an ankle problem which emerged in a medical at the Hawthorns.
Talks are ongoing and Hodgson is optimistic the 32-year-old will seal a return to West Brom, who he joined from Ferencvaros in 2004 before joining Fulham four years later.
"I've made no secret of the fact that Zoltan's a player that I would be very interested in bringing back to West Brom," Hodgson said.
"This is where his career (in England) began. I thought he continued it very successfully at Fulham and now he's looking to move on again. It would be great if we could bring him back to West Brom, which is his alma mater to some extent, but talks are ongoing.
"His operation may have complicated things slightly but I'm still pretty confident that the operation will go well and we'll be able to sign him."
Jones, 24, already has 251 Championship appearances to his name and has spent the last four years with Preston, while McAuley, 31, has spent the last five years with Championship sides Leicester and Ipswich.
"Billy has a fantastic record for playing in the Championship," Hodgson added. "For his age he's got an incredible number of games under his belt.
"He's been a lynchpin in the Preston side for so long and also he's a player who I think, very usefully, is equally adept at playing on the right side or the left side at full-back, an area where we feel we need some competition for places and strengthening.
"With Gareth, of course, he's captained Northern Ireland so we know about him very well.
"I've had very good experiences personally with Northern Ireland players - at Fulham with (Chris) Baird, (Aaron) Hughes and Steven Davies, and here with Chris Brunt - so there was no shortage of research or information about him.
"He's the profile of a centre-back I think we need at the club now that we've lost Abdoulaye Meite."