A new era at West Brom is about to get underway as new Baggies boss Sam Allardyce took training for the first time on Thursday morning.
Albion’s hierarchy finally pulled the trigger on Slaven Bilic after months of speculation over his future, though his sacking came less than 24 hours after a shock point up at Manchester City earlier this week.
The 66-year-old, dubbed ‘the firefighter,’ signed an 18-month contract which contains a break clause should they be relegated from the Premier League this season whilst he’s also thought to be in line for a £1.5m bonus if he steers the Midlands outfit to safety.
Allardyce has been out of the game for two-and-a-half years since his sacking at Everton and is renowned for never having a relegation on his CV having saved the likes of Blackburn, Sunderland and Palace over the years.
He has a mighty job on his hands to save this sinking ship. West Brom are second-from-bottom and are among the top-flight’s lowest goalscorers, so this is something that he may well turn to first.
He’s hardly a typical Allardyce striker either as the former Bolton and England manager likes a direct style of football which usually involves a big target man up top – ala Andy Carroll or Christian Benteke.
The obvious comparisons are drawn to Charlie Austin straight away as he could be in line for a second chance with the change in management, which only compounds the prospect of the 23-year-old being the biggest loser from all this further.
Grant has never averaged more than 0.8 aerial duels won per game throughout his career, whilst Austin thrived under the direct styles of Harry Redknapp, Chris Ramsey and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at QPR, averaging at least 2.6 aerials won across three seasons.
There have been plenty of glowing endorsements over the summer arrival in the past – his ex-Terries boss Danny Cowley once dubbed the forward “ruthless in front of goal” and another former coach in Lee Bowyer once said: “The kid causes problems and scores goals.”
Despite this, it’s hard to imagine Big Sam lining Grant up on his own in attack. He could well suffer hugely with the change of management. Only time will tell.
AND in other news, How West Brom’s starting XI may look under Sam Allardyce…