West Bromwich Albion currently sit top of the Championship table as a hectic festive period is soon on the horizon.
At their current rate, the Baggies will surpass a points total of 92, which has been enough for automatic promotion in four of the last five seasons in this division.
However, this discounts plenty of other factors that may crop up between now and May, such as injuries, suspensions, and the form of their rivals.
Though, things are quite positive as they hold a two-point cushion over the chasing pack of Preston North End and Leeds United.
Watch West Bromwich Albion Videos With StreamFootball.tv Below
Albion boss Slaven Bilic can give his side the best chances of success by adding further depth and quality in January, which may well appear to be the case if reports are to be believed this week.
The Telegraph has claimed that Newcastle United will brace themselves for interest over their striker Dwight Gayle in the winter window as West Brom are interested in bringing him back to the west Midlands.
Such a move would undoubtedly appease many at the Hawthorns if it were to come to fruition, so some of Football FanCast’s best run the mill over whether or not it would actually be the right signing to make given their failed attempt in the summer.
“Dwight Gayle to West Brom must have done the rounds about a thousand times since he departed the Hawthorns last summer, but whenever it comes up, you can’t deny just how good a signing it would be. Gayle was absolutely sensational in the Championship last term, scoring 24 goals and has shown his quality at that level time and time again.
“Bringing him back to Albion in January would be a game-changer. Charlie Austin and Kenneth Zohore have only three goals between them, and if they want to achieve promotion, they’ll have to rely on more than just the wide players and Matheus Pereira.
“That being said, I’d be incredibly surprised if the club could afford it. Last summer’s struggles to bring him back was well documented. His colossal wage demands of £55k were too much for West Brom previously, so he’d have to take a considerable drop to re-join them. Based on what happened in the summer, it’s hard to see a move happening, but there can be no doubting just important he would be if he re-signed.”
“West Brom are riding high at the top of the Championship, but Slaven Bilic’s job would be a lot easier if he had a reliable goalscorer to call upon, and Dwight Gayle fits the mould.
“The Baggies have failed to replace his goals with the signings of Kenneth Zohore and Charlie Austin – who have three league goals between them. Gayle, by contrast, managed 24 in the Championship last year.
“He would massively strengthen West Brom’s attack, and that could be the difference between the automatic promotion places and missing out, and if he did arrive, the rewards from the likely subsequent promotion would more than repay his transfer fee.”
“If this deal is one that isn’t too expensive for the Baggies, then they should be all over it – capturing a Championship marksman can be the difference between promotion and remaining in the second tier.
“If I supported West Brom, I for one would be massively infuriated if finances did turn out to be a stumbling block in this deal, as there is absolutely no way that £8m should’ve been spent on Zohore – if there is money in the bank to sign Gayle though, then it has to be done.
“Austin is definitely capable, although over the course of a 46-game campaign in which things can get quite gruelling at times, having someone who can conjure up a goal out of nothing such as Gayle is worth its weight in gold.
“The Midlands-based side know what the former Crystal Palace forward is all about, so there are very few risks involved in this deal – if affordable, it has to happen.”
“West Brom have been firing on all cylinders this season, but the same can’t be said for their strikers as the trio of Charlie Austin, Hal Robson-Kanu and Kenneth Zohore have only accounted for 20% of their league goals this campaign. To put that in perspective, Matty Phillips on his own has accounted for the same percentage, via WhoScored.
“I’ll get this out the way first and say that Gayle would be an astonishing coup for West Brom, but I have my doubts over whether they can financially complete such a deal and if it were to dent their long-term finances significantly, then they should stay clear and look elsewhere.
“The 29-year-old’s wage demands were too much, and he is valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt so he won’t come cheap – that’s more money than Zohore and Austin combined. If they risk the move and then don’t successfully gain promotion, it will harm them next season. He’s also yet to prove his worth in the top-flight as he’s only bagged 21 goals in 101 appearances, so the Baggies may well be paying in excess of £10m+ for a six-month quick fix.”