West Brom completed a phenomenal triple transfer swoop on deadline day, with the signings of Stefan Johansen, Jacob Murphy and Jefferson Montero, all of whom are proven Championship players and signings of the highest calibre at that level. (via the club’s official site)
First of all, the signing of Johansen on loan from Fulham is an outstanding piece of business by West Brom, and will add goals from midfield to a side already quite good at finding the back of the net – the Baggies’ 57 goals make them the highest scorers in the Championship.
The Norwegian international scored eight goals and recorded nine assists for the Cottagers last season as Fulham won promotion via the play-offs, proving to be a truly effective box-to-box midfielder.
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In Murphy’s case, his last experience in the Championship with Norwich, before moving to Newcastle, yielded nine goals and six assists as he impressed in a wide attacking role – his form prompted the Magpies to part with £12m for his services.
Darren Moore unfortunately lost Harvey Barnes, Oliver Burke and Bakary Sako in the window, so the arrivals of Murphy and Montero in particular are exceptional and necessary captures.
The Colombian winger is specifically a tremendous wide player who can strike fear into the hearts of opposition full backs, with his consistent ability to take on his man and get to the byline before whipping in a cross sure to be a dream for Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle.
Moore deployed a 4-3-3 system in the Baggies’ last Championship outing against Bolton, a game in which Rekeem Harper excelled in midfield and Sam Field came on and scored – both of whom are impressive young talents and shouldn’t be affected by Johansen’s arrival.
Perhaps 34-year-old Chris Brunt, who has made 23 league appearances this season, should be the one to make way. The Baggies’ fans favourite is getting on a bit and, whilst he still possesses a wand of a left foot, Johansen is too good to leave out and Gareth Barry is too important to be dropped.
Hal Robson-Kanu will inevitably be dropped for either Murphy or Montero, with one of the two likely to be kept on the bench for depth for the next few weeks, as Gayle and Rodriguez are also simply too good to drop.
One thing’s for certain, however. The deadline day triple swoop has struck fear into the Baggies’ promotion rivals.