Six striker signings West Bromwich Albion may make this January
Tony Pulis said upon his appointment as new West Bromwich Albion head coach that his record of never being relegated would not be enough to keep the club up alone.
The Baggies are going in the right direction, with Coral now lengthening their odds for the drop to 10/3 (from 2/1), following a 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Hull City.
Saido Berahino, West Brom’s leading marksman, grabbed the winner, but may be sold in the winter window, and, if he isn’t, needs a partner to ease the scoring burden upon him.
That got our football experts thinking about who Pulis may bring in this January? We’ve come up with six English-born options to add to Albion’s attack, because we know their boss loves the best of British.
Although veteran target man Crouch, out of contract this summer, is settled at Pulis’ old club Stoke City (13/8 for a top 10 finish), the lure of working with him again may prove strong. There’s about 40 miles between the Britannia and The Hawthorns, so this would not exactly be a move taking the player away from his family.
Under current Potters boss Mark Hughes, Crouch is first-choice, however, and the Stoke side would make things difficult for themselves by selling him. Mame Biram Diouf is away with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations this month, and Bojan has struggled with injury since signing from Barcelona.
The tabloid rumour mill suggest discreet inquiries have been made by the Baggies hierarchy over Watford captain Deeney’s availability. It would appear this measure has been taken in the eventuality Berahino is snapped up by a bigger club.
Deeney has relished the responsibility that has come with the Hornets armband, and current Vicarage Road strike partner Matej Vydra spent last term on loan at The Hawthorns. As this runoured target was born in Birmingham, a January move would be something of a homecoming for him and would result in a first-ever crack at the Premier League.
It’s hard not to read a newspaper without seeing someone linked with ex-England international Defoe. He’s training with old club Spurs, but the likes of West Brom’s relegation rivals QPR (evens), Sunderland (10/3), Hull (13/8) and Leicester City (5/6) are all mentioned in dispatches.
Defoe has reportedly failed to settle at MLS franchise Toronto, so a move back to England appears on the cards. Why not at Albion, then? He can help polish Berahino into a predatory finisher, and is a major upgrade on Nigerian flops Victor Anichebe and Brown Ideye, not to mention Greece’s Georgios Samaras.
Boyhood Liverpool fan and Merseyside native Lambert is only getting regular action at Anfield because fellow summer signing Mario Balotelli has flopped and Daniel Sturridge is working back from injury. The Cinderella story is at an end for the 32-year-old frontman.
Reports claim, provided Reds boss Brendan Rodgers can get Divock Origi back from his loan spell at Lille, Lambert can leave. It is gallant of this Scouser to want to stay at his hometown team and fight for his place, but a Midlands move to join Pulis might allow him to keep his spot on the England roster, which younger men look set to snatch.
As Leicester are linked with Defoe and Japan frontman Shinji Okazaki, as well as being a work permit away from securing Croatia international Andrej Kramaric, the writing appears to be on the wall for Foxes forward Vardy.
Many wondered whether this former non-league striker could cut it in the Premier League. Vardy proved his worth, however, by scoring and setting up all of Leicester’s other goals in a 5-3 win over Manchester United in the autumn. He’s a hard-working player that fits the archetypal Pulis attacker.
Like Stoke clubmate Crouch, Republic of Ireland international (but Merseyside born) Walters is both out of contract this summer and has worked with Pulis before. If the Potters don’t want to lose him for nothing, then they must sell now.
Often deployed on the wing by both Pulis and Hughes, Walters gives graft that foreign summer signings Sebastian Blanco and Silvestre Varela, made by Baggies predecessor Alan Irvine, simply don’t. Work rate will be everything at West Brom now, who are odds-on at 1/5 to stay up.