West Brom haven’t always got it right when it comes to their impressive academy set-up.
For every Nathan Ferguson, there’s a Yan Dhanda, and for every Dara O’Shea, there’s an Izzy Brown.
One name who seems to have got away from them is Marcus Forss, a Finnish striker who was let go for free by then-Baggies boss Tony Pulis in the summer of 2017.
And that’s looking a rather silly decision now…
The 21-year-old joined Brentford’s ‘B’ team following his Albion rejection and has since emerged as a first-team star for the Championship leaders.
Summer signing Ivan Toney is understandably taken the plaudits this term, providing 23 goals and nine assists in just 28 league appearances, via Transfermarkt.
But his teammate and often back-up, has done a fine job in playing second fiddle as he’s managed to find the net seven times in only 991 minutes of action, which is around a goal every 125 minutes when factoring out the FA Cup.
His form for the Bees has attracted interest from across Europe, notably Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.
According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, the German outfit are ‘keeping tabs’ on the overlooked gem ahead of the summer.
He claims that Forss bears some similarities to Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy due to his ‘physique, movement and finishing’ whilst he’s already hit the ground running on the international stage, downing World Cup winners France with a very Vardy-esque finish, which can be viewed here.
With Finland making Euro 2020, the former Baggies reject could have a chance to show the world what he can do once more and that should have those in the Midlands sweating with anxiety.
After all, they released him at 17 without any real shot in the first-team. It can be argued that West Brom could’ve done with his exploits over the past year as no fewer than four strikers have come and gone – Charlie Austin, Kenneth Zohore, Karlan Grant and now MBaye Diagne – maybe they’ll hit on one eventually.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank believes the Finland international is “the best finisher” at the club and that’s been echoed by his assistant Kevin O’Connor, who told Sky Sports:
“You could see his quality; you could see straight away that he was a finisher and had very good ability with both feet. I think it was only a matter of time before he got in and around the first-team squad.”
Ornstein also suggests other unnamed Bundesliga teams are tracking Forss, but the favourites would surely be Dortmund considering the transformations of Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham in recent seasons.
It’s hard to imagine West Brom ever living down Pulis’ foolish call on the 21-year-old talisman – missed profits, a missed goalscorer and more.
Whilst it remains to be seen whether he’s the next Vardy or Dortmund’s next Erling Haaland, clearly, the Baggies have missed out on a potential star of the future here.