LONDON • The relationship between West Bromwich Albion's board and Tony Pulis is deteriorating on the back of a frustrating transfer window that prompted John Williams, the club's chairman, to issue a statement that appears to highlight a lack of unity at the top.
West Brom added only Allan Nyom and Hal Robson-Kanu to a thin and ageing squad on deadline day. Williams sought to explain their transfer activity and in doing so implied that a club-record deal for a midfielder - understood to be Malaga's Ignacio Camacho - fell through because Pulis decided that he did not want that player.
There was also a pointed reference to the fact that Pulis wanted five players and West Brom delivered that quantity.
Whether the manager is happy with the club's outlay in the window is another matter, and it remains to be seen what impact the club's summer recruitment - Matty Phillips, Nacer Chadli and Brendan Galloway are the other new faces - will have on his position in the short term.
Pulis must decide if he is prepared to take on the challenge of what threatens to be a long season with a squad that looks desperately short of firepower up front while lacking a dynamic presence in central midfield.
William Carvalho would have solved the latter problem, but West Brom failed in their attempt to sign the Portugal international on deadline day.
In his statement, Williams said: "Our head coach Tony Pulis is very selective and particular about the players he recruits so it follows that the new team members will add significantly to his first-team options. Tony wanted five and we got five.
"That said, one disappointment was not being able to add a further quality midfield player. We were a long way down the road with a deal, thanks to the ongoing support of Jeremy Peace (the majority shareholder) and Guochuan Lai (the club's prospective new owner).
"But it was decided for footballing reasons not to pursue this. Despite it being late in the window, we decided to pursue another high-quality target. Unfortunately, we were not able to get the deal over the line."