West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie – the most important signing of the summer?

West Bromwich Albion Striker Peter OdemwingieWest Brom’s signing of Peter Odemwingie in the summer may not have been one of the most glamorous transfers of the window, but it is looking very much like it could be one of the most important. Odemwingie has looked excellent spearheading the West Brom attack and does not look short of goals, and he looks like he will play a vital role in the Baggies season. For teams just getting promoted to the Premier League, it is often so difficult to find a goal scorer, yet judging by his early form it looks like West Brom may have found the man to fit this bill, and he could well be the man to keep them up.

Peter Odemwingie was signed in the summer from Russian outfit Lokomotiv Moscow, and it was perhaps the unsavoury nature of their fans goodbye to Odemwingie that was the most talked about aspect of his transfer. Odemwingie had a respectable goal scoring record in Russia however, and also at his previous club Lille, which persuaded Lokomotiv to pay the hefty fee of £9 million for the striker. Of Russian birth, Odemwingie elected to play for Nigeria after qualifying through his father, and he has a decent international pedigree, picking up 47 caps and becoming an important player for the national side, he was also selected for the 2010 World Cup.

In August, Roberto di Matteo decided to bring Odemwingie to West Brom, and it is looking like an inspired signing. The Nigerian instantly endeared himself to the Baggies fans by scoring a winner against Sunderland on his debut, and he followed it up with another goal against Birmingham at the Hawthorns. Odemwingie got his third goal in five league games this weekend against Arsenal, and the striker looks to have settled in seamlessly to the pace of the Premier League.

What has made his start all the more impressive is the fact that he has often started as a lone striker, which puts even greater emphasis on Odemwingie being the man to get the goals. Odemwingie looks a really good all-round centre forward, he can hold the ball up as a target man but is quick and able to run into the channels and get himself into good positions to score.

In previous seasons in the Premier League, West Brom have struggled to get the goals to keep them up. They have not had a striker of the goal-scoring prowess that Odemwingie seems to possess, and it is a vital ingredient for clubs coming up into the Premiership. If a side does not have a player who is able to score on a regular basis, then it will always be difficult for them to avoid relegation, and along with sorting out a solid defence, it is the most crucial thing that teams need to get right.

West Brom fans will be tired with the tag their club has as a yo-yo team, but this has undeniably been the case in the last few years. In Peter Odemwingie however, the Baggies may just have found the man that can get the goals to convert draws to wins and losses to draws. If he maintains he superb early season form, and the defence remains strong, West Brom might just be able to stay up this term, and end their yo-yo between the leagues.

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