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West Brom face dilemma with clock ticking on future of Northern Ireland star Jonny Evans

By Tom Allnutt

West Brom fear a late transfer scramble as the countdown continues over Jonny Evans’ future.

The defender could leave Albion before Wednesday’s deadline which would allow the Baggies to reinvest the money for new recruits and aid their Premier League survival fight.

They are unable to spend big unless Evans, rated at over £20m, is sold, with Arsenal the most likely destination as Manchester City are targeting Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte.

The Gunners and City have both enquired about Evans, who can reportedly leave for £3m if Albion are relegated, and boss Alan Pardew is wary of a rush to beat the deadline.

He said: “I don’t think, in my experience, the top clubs are looking to help anyone else, they’re looking to help themselves.

“If they ring up late Tuesday they’re probably not going to get the response they want, if they ring today, tomorrow, Sunday, they’ll get a nicer response.

“The deadline is always the same, can you do business, have you got time to do business the other day?

“If we’ve got time, that’s the deadline. Obviously the less time you leave it the less chance you have of bringing someone in.”

Albion head to Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round this evening with the Reds having spent £75m signing Virgil van Dyke from Southampton this month.

And while Pardew knows Albion will not get that figure for Evans he knows the Northern Ireland international is top class.

“Every criteria is different, age, experience, his contract etc. Jonny’s got 18 months left so it makes him more vulnerable. Having said that, he’s in his prime,” he said.

West Brom’s FA Cup hopes have been hit after a flu bug swept through the squad.

Ben Foster, Ahmed Hegazi, Gareth McAuley, Jay Rodriguez, Sam Field and James McClean are all struggling ahead of tonight’s game.

Boss Alan Pardew wants to play a strong side at Anfield. He said: “We’ll be strong. We’ve got a little bit of a flu bug in terms of a few players. Certainly there’s enough players available to not make too many changes.”

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