Time to say goodbye

Posted by Matthew Evans

Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesSunday will assuredly be Peter Odemwingie's final match with West Brom.

Sunday's match with Manchester United will undoubtedly be covered widely by the media as Sir Alex Ferguson takes charge of his 1500th and final game as Manchester United manager. However, it is not just Ferguson who will be saying goodbye at the final game of the season at the Hawthorns, as a few of West Brom players could well be saying their final goodbyes.

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One of these men is Peter Odemwingie. It has been pretty much confirmed that the Nigerian will be leaving the club which was inevitable after the issues in the January transfer window and the tweeting incidents that followed. Despite this, it is a shame that Odemwingie's final goodbye from The Hawthorns will be an unhappy one. Because of everything that has happened, it is easy to forget what Odemwingie has achieved at West Brom and that he will be a miss in some respects.

Odemwingie has scored 30 goals in 85 games for West Brom, scoring 15 goals in his debut season and 10 goals last season. Although he may have only scored five goals this season, they have all come in important games. He grabbed the second in a 3-0 win over Liverpool, both goals in a 2-0 win against Southampton, the winner against Chelsea and the equaliser against Aston Villa. What he contributed more than anything this season was balance, his ability to play the wide forward role is something West Brom have sorely lacked in the second half of the season.

There are three other players whose futures remain hugely uncertain. Steven Reid is a doubt for Sunday's game and has in general struggled for fitness this term. He needs to play a certain amount of games for the second year of his contract to be automatically renewed, though West Brom can choose to renew the deal of their own accord. Reid would certainly be a good player to keep in and around the dressing room; he is a model professional. But he quite simply doesn't play enough games to be first choice right back; whether the club feels they need to bring someone in to play that position or feel Billy Jones is good enough is a different matter entirely.

Jerome Thomas is almost certain to leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season. The formation chosen by Steve Clarke at the start of the season should have suited Thomas to a tee but he couldn't find the necessary fitness levels and once he did, he couldn't force his way into the side. I am a huge fan of Thomas but I don't think he is up to the level that Albion require anymore.

Marc Antoine Fortune is an interesting one. He has done a job when called upon by Clarke this season. But at 31, he may be considered too old or as someone who won't have the desired effect anymore. West Brom have been linked with a move to Franco Di Santo on a free transfer and in a way he would be a direct replacement for Fortune, in that his game isn't really centred around the amount of goals he scores but more his team play.

The future of Goran Popov is also yet to be resolved. The on-loan Macedonian has impressed on occasions on this season while he has struggled at others. Like Billy Jones, Popov is more comfortable going forward rather than defending. There is a pre-agreed fee with his parent club but it is up to West Brom if they want to activate that. Popov is probably on the same level as Liam Ridgewell so I see no reason for them not making the deal permanent.

One player who West Brom management and fans alike would love to have at the club next season is Romelu Lukaku. Therefore, there will be hope this is merely waving goodbye to Lukaku on a short summer holiday rather than saying goodbye forever. Whichever it is, what is important is that the situation is resolved quickly, for both the player and for the club. West Brom cannot afford to wait around to see what Chelsea want to do with the young Belgian, and it will be of no benefit to him either.

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