West Brom have had a fantastic start to life back in the Championship after dropping from the Premier League at the end of last season. Despite being relegated though, the 2017/18 campaign did end reasonably well for the Baggies as Darren Moore took over as caretaker manager in April and was named manager of the month after victories over Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham.
Over the summer, the former West Brom player was given the top job on a permanent basis and he set about building a side that could challenge for promotion back to the top-flight. Some of his transfers have been inspired, not least the temporary captures of youngster Harvey Barnes from Leicester and striker Dwight Gayle from Newcastle, with Salomon Rondon heading to St James’ Park in exchange.
The West Midlands side are now sitting second in the table heading into the international break, after picking up 24 points and scoring an incredible 31 goals in just 12 matches – that’s nine more than second-highest scorers Middlesbrough.
Recently though, the Baggies have been linked with a club-record £20m move for Blackburn’s attacking midfielder Bradley Dack (The Sun on Sunday, October 7, page 60), and here at Football FanCast we can’t help but feel this would be a mistake from Moore.
It was no secret that West Brom were in for Dack over the summer, and they even had a £15m bid rejected on the second deadline day at the end of August, according to The Sun. However, if there is £20m sitting in the transfer kitty at the Hawthorns, the money could certainly be spent better elsewhere.
Yes, Dack has been in blistering form so far this season. In fact, he has netted an impressive eight goals and provided five assists in just 10 appearances so far, but the Baggies have their own in-form stars who they should convince to join on a permanent basis before moving for the 24-year-old.
Signing Dwight Gayle should be priority number one in terms of transfers for Moore right now, and it does look as though a deal would be possible. Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez was so desperate for a target man over the summer that he practically forced Gayle on Moore, but the 27-year-old has been on fire alongside Jay Rodriguez and has now scored eight league goals in just 11 appearances.
Gayle is valued at just £9m by Transfermarkt and although there are question marks over whether he can be as prolific in the Premier League, with the form he is in at the moment he would be the perfect man for West Brom’s future whether they are promoted or not at the end of the campaign.
Whilst Gayle’s quality was well established before his summer move, Leicester’s 20-year-old Barnes has been a revelation for the Baggies. Moore has deployed Barnes behind his two strikers and his form, which has included five goals and three assists, has now earned him an England U21 call-up.
Leicester boss Claude Puel recently spoke about Barnes, and his failure to rule out a January recall will worry West Brom fans. Moore though should be throwing that Dack money to Barnes’ parent club in order to secure a permanent move for the youngster. The former Barnsley loanee is only valued at £1.35m by Transfermarkt, but we all know how expensive England youth internationals can be these days. A figure closer to the £22m the Foxes paid Norwich for James Maddison would be much more likely, but could prove to be a fantastic investment.