West Brom’s desperate pursuit of securing a new striker ended late in the transfer window this summer when they managed to clinch Karlan Grant from Huddersfield Town, but there was a better name staring them right in the face…
According to the Daily Mail this week, Baggies boss Slaven Bilic was keen on signing prolific Championship marksman Ollie Watkins, though he became one of many targets to move elsewhere.
But this one is made so much worse by the fact that he joined arch-rivals Aston Villa in a £28m deal and whilst that may have seemed out of the realms of possibility for the Baggies, it maybe wasn’t.
Either signing would have been a calculated risk given their inexperience in the Premier League, but on the early showing, there’s a clear standout and it’s not the player contracted to the Hawthorns.
Watkins is performing above and beyond that of Grant so far this term. The 24-year-old sensation has bagged six goals in just nine starts, including a phenomenal hat-trick against defending champions, Liverpool.
He is also averaging 2.4 shots, 1.4 dribbles and 1.3 key passes, via WhoScored, which is really impressive for someone deployed upfront on their own.
In a similar role across the Midlands border, Grant has scored just once in seven appearances, and is managing just 1.6 shots, 0.7 dribbles and 0.4 key passes per game. Ineffective.
Both strikers delivered in the second-flight last term but again, Watkins was clear with a whopping 26 goals after back-to-back ten goal seasons.
Such praise has continued with his meteoric rise at the top with Premier League legend Alan Shearer dubbing Watkins a “complete nuisance” on Match of the Day earlier this season.
The £27m-rated monster should’ve been signed well before the late panic over Grant. Guochuan Lai and Luke Dowling let the Baggies down with this failed pursuit.