Upon becoming West Brom’s marquee signing this summer, Nigerian front-man Brown Ideye has simply failed to live up to the expectations at the Hawthorns. Alongside the likes of on-loan Porto forward Silvestre Valera, the former Dynimo Kiev man was part of a carefully selected attacking line-up by the former Baggies boss, Alan Irvine.
Unfortunately though, things just haven’t turned out that way for the club or their ever passionate fans. Valera himself has moved on to the Seire A and Brown Ideye has looked nowhere near the player he was first touted to be. Despite costing the midlands team in the region of £10 million according to The Daily Mail – a price that incidentally happens to be West Brom’s club record transfer fee – the faith shown in the Nigerian has simply not been matched by his output in the Premier League.
As Brown Ideye has successfully notched two goals in his last two appearances for West Brom however, is the tide finally starting to turn for the pricey striker, or will the unpredictable 26-year-old seemingly never reach his full potential at the Hawthorns?
Before arriving in England, Ideye was commonly known as a burley centre-forward who was not easily knocked off the ball. He brought with him a potential ability to play out wide when required, and although the former Kiev man may have lacked that bit of pace and mobility needed to survive in that position, his instinctual deadliness in front of goal often gave him enough flexibility to make it. Despite not being considered worthy of a World Cup place in Brazil this summer, West Brom fans would nevertheless have been excited by the potential on offer from their new man up top.
However, three Premier League goals for the newly acquired striker has simply not been good enough from the Nigerian this season. Yes, playing for a side such as West Brom, who are seemingly constantly on the brink of relegation, would not be an easy task for even the most promising forwards in European football. But as 21-year-old Saido Berahino has already proved that it can be done, the signs just don’t look too good for Brown Ideye.
As he only amassed a mere five Premier Liga goals last campaign, and even Shola Ameobi made the cut for the Nigerian national squad in Brazil, perhaps the warning signs should have been clear for the Baggies long before they went through with the signing.
Whilst the sensation and gossip surrounding Brown Ideye’s faltering Hawthorns career has got some sections of the footballing community talking this season, it important not to get too carried away with the whole affair. West Brom look somewhat more comfortable under Tony Pulis, and whilst relegation fears will still be rife among many Baggies fans, the situation could be a lot worse for them this season.
In light of such context, Ideye’s recent – albeit brief – goalscoring exploits may just show enough light at the end of the tunnel for the 26-year-old to justify his place in the Premier League. After all, this is his first season in England. Strikers in particular tend to need one full term of Premier League football to ‘bed in’, so it may be a tad premature to give up Ideye completely.
The Nigerian’s reputation doesn’t come completely unwarranted. He seemingly has got it in him to do the business in front of goal, and whilst progress may be slow for the marquee man right now, it is important to give him the time and trust that his record breaking fee deserves.
Ultimately though, Brown Ideye has not been able to give West Brom an immediate impact upon signing for the club in the summer. He has needed quite a while to settle into his new surroundings, and if the Baggies were just a little bit closer to the relegation zone at this current stage, Ideye’s bedding-in time could have proved too much of a sacrifice for Tony Pulis and his determined side. As the Nigerian seems to be slowly pulling his socks up however, the jury is still out on whether or not Brown Ideye can finally reach his full potential with his new team.