While West Bromwich Albion have started life under Valerien Ismael well, with the Baggies having lost just one of their 11 Championship fixtures under the Frenchman, there have nevertheless been questions raised regarding Albion’s lack of an out and out goalscorer.
Indeed, while Ismael did secure the services of Norwich City centre-forward Jordan Hugill on a season-long loan deal this summer, the 29-year-old is yet to find the back of the net over his seven second-tier appearances for the club.
That’s something that has caused West Brom problems at times, none more so than when the Baggies failed to win three consecutive fixtures against Millwall, Derby County and Preston North End – with Albion scoring just two goals in these games.
As such, it would appear likely that Ismael is already starting to consider entering the January market for further additions up top, however, perhaps the 46-year-old could find a solution to his problem much closer to home.
West Brom have developed something of a reputation for developing promising young players in recent years, with the likes of Aston Villa’s Louie Barry and Crystal Palace’s Nathan Ferguson both being graduates of the Baggies academy.
However, unfortunately for the Championship side, they have often been unable to keep hold of their most exciting prospects, with many leaving The Hawthorns on free transfers, while others have been picked up by Premier League teams for a relative snip.
And, it would now appear as if West Brom have yet another diamond on their hands, this time in the shape of 17-year-old Reyes Cleary – who is already reported to be attracting the interest of Borussia Dortmund as well as many others.
Indeed, it is not difficult to see why there is significant interest in the teenager, as, over his four U18 Premier League appearances for Albion this season, Cleary has scored a brace in each fixture – which just so happen to have been against Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur.
The teenager has also bagged two goals over two appearances for the Baggies’ U23 side, taking his total haul so far this season to ten goals – in addition to one assist – in just six games.
Furthermore, it is not only transfer interest that Cleary is attracting, but also extremely high praise, with West Brom’s U18 coach Peter Gilbert dubbing the striker a “powerful” player who is an “excellent” finisher – while the youngster has also been compared to former Baggies loanee and current Chelsea star, Romelu Lukaku.
Considering Ismael’s reputation for involving up and coming talents in his first-team squad, in addition to Hugill’s distinct lack of goals, it would seem a wise move for the Frenchman to begin exposing Cleary to senior football before potentially dipping into the transfer market this winter – as the teenager could well go on to save Albion millions in transfer fees.