West Brom have twice missed out on signing attacking hotshot Ollie Watkins over the years and now their most recent decision is looking worse by the week…
According to Sky Sports during the summer transfer window, then-Baggies boss Slaven Bilic was said to be an admirer of the former Brentford forward and was interested in signing him.
This has since been backed up by The Athletic’s Steve Madeley, who claimed that Watkins was the top target before the club moved onto Karlan Grant.
Whilst in the past, Darren Moore revealed that Albion rejected the chance to sign him from Exeter City before his move to the Bees.
Now the 25-year-old finds himself down the road at Aston Villa, where he has set the Premier League alight with his goalscoring exploits – only further making those calls look absolutely disastrous.
Currently, Sam Allardyce has two major problems as West Brom boss.
One, they cannot stop leaking goals – they hold the record of the Premier League’s worst defence, and two, they cannot score goals either – Grant has bagged just once since his £12m arrival in the summer.
Matheus Pereira is practically carrying the Baggies on his back having scored four and assisted three of their 15 league goals (46.6%).
Over at Villa Park, Dean Smith’s side find themselves in surprise contention for a European spot and that largely comes down to the signing of Watkins as last term in narrowly avoiding relegation, they lacked a true goalscorer.
An average of 1.07 goals scored per game has risen to 1.83 in less than a year. That is no coincidence as top-scorer Watkins has bagged eight in 18 starts, also averaging 2.8 shots per match, via WhoScored.
No wonder he was dubbed “a machine” by Bees programme editor Chris Deacon.
By comparison, Grant is managing only 1.2 shots per game with Pereira and Conor Gallager a fraction better by 0.2, so the Villa man usurps the whole Albion squad with ease.
Both Grant and Watkins came from the Championship this summer and only one looks right at home in the big time – hint: he’s not wearing blue and white stripes every weekend.
Villa clearly struck gold over the 5 foot 11 dynamo, who earns £75k-per-week, all whilst the Baggies continue to suffer amid a relegation dogfight.
It remains to be seen whether Bilic or Allardyce would’ve got the same returns out of him, but the ability is clearly there.
Guochuan Lai’s decision to not pay up for the £27m-rated Watkins could be one they regret massively for a very long time – if not forever, especially if they go down.
He’s transformed their rivals from relegation favourites to a top ten side almost overnight. That shouldn’t have been allowed.
AND in other news Exclusive: West Brom urged to secure 28 y/o who could fix problems…