Much has been made this season about West Brom‘s goalscoring woes in the Championship but things could have been much worse for Steve Bruce’s side had they signed Dwight Gayle.
The 32-year-old was heavily linked with a move back to the Hawthorns during the summer, with reports suggesting that the Baggies held talks with both Gayle and Newcastle United but failed to put together a suitable financial package.
In the end, he would join Stoke City on a free transfer and given his previous record in the Championship, it seemed like something of a coup for the Potters.
In his last two seasons in the second tier, Gayle has hit 23 goals on both occasions, first with Newcastle in 2016/17 and then again with West Brom during a loan spell in 2018/19, so it is easy to see why Bruce wanted him back at the Hawthorns.
However, he has failed to impress during his time with Stoke City, with no goals in his opening 13 appearances for the club, which suggests that he would have done little to improve West Brom’s current situation, as they sit 22nd in the Championship table with just one win to their name.
Karlan Grant has come under a lot of criticism for his performances this season and rightfully so, with his missed penalty against Swansea City a microcosm of his poor season in front of goal, but the former Charlton Athletic man would still be a better option than Gayle in this Baggies attack.
The 25-year-old is West Brom’s joint-top scorer with three goals and averages 1.9 shots per game, whereas Gayle is yet to find the net for Stoke and has averaged just 0.9 shots per game, which again emphasises that, on current form, he wouldn’t have been the saviour in West Brom’s current predicament.
Therefore, Bruce may have dodged a bullet in missing out on the striker, as he now looks well past his best, although the former Newcastle boss would probably take any help that he can get at the moment, as he is surely facing the sack after more dropped points at home to Luton this weekend.