West Brom owner Guochuan Lai hasn’t been one to open the chequebook since taking the helm from Jeremy Pearce in 2016, even despite a reported net worth of £2.8bn.
It is easy to forget this amidst all the success that the Baggies had last season but they now find themselves embroiled in a relegation battle thanks to the Chinese businessman’s lack of spending this summer.
According to the Express & Star, Albion only had around £20m at their disposal, which is why we saw a couple of players come in on loan and only really two big splashes – one of which being Grady Diangana.
The 22-year-old impressed during last season’s loan spell so much that the club parted way with £12m of that budget to bring him back. to the Hawthorns permanently. The deal, eventually, could exceed £17m.
On their way to clinching promotion, the Hammers academy graduate delivered eight goals and six assists in what was really his first full season in the men’s game.
And whilst things are yet to go to plan this season for the enigmatic wide man this term, he remains a key player under Slaven Bilic.
In eight starts, Diangana has found the net once and is averaging 1.8 dribbles, 1.1 shots and 2.1 tackles per game, via WhoScored.
The £10.8m-rated sensation, who earns around £45k-per-week in the west Midlands, has received many a glowing endorsement in the past 12 months with former WBA legend Carlton Palmer recently tipping him to become a £40m-plus player.
He also added: “He is a fantastic talent, I think it’s a great acquisition for West Brom. You can’t put huge pressure on a 22-year-old who has never played in the Premier League, but he’s definitely one for the future, he’s a talented, talented boy.”
Even Sky Sports’ EFL punditry duo, Keith Andrews and Lee Hendrie both lauded Diangana to the EFL podcast last season, calling him “explosive” and a “total nightmare” to play against.
If Lai has got anything right recently, it’s certainly the gamble on signing the England U21 international permanently. It may well be his finest parting gift and at least one positive to be remembered for.