While Valerien Ismael’s West Bromwich Albion side have far from struggled to find the back of the net in their opening two Championship fixtures, the Frenchman nevertheless appears to believe that his Albion side are lacking a classic number nine.
Indeed, the 45-year-old recently revealed that he is still actively pursuing targets in the summer transfer window, with it being reported that both Orlando City centre-forward Daryl Dike and Manchester City starlet Liam Delap are two players the manager is keeping a very close eye on ahead of a potential move.
However, while the 18-year-old Delap is undeniably a player who boasts the potential to go on and have a fantastic career in the game, it is perhaps Dike who would appear to be a better fit for Ismael this season.
The 21-year-old is a player Ismael is extremely familiar with, having signed the USA international on a fourth-month loan deal for Barnsley back in February, during which Dike highly impressed for the Tykes.
Indeed, over his 19 Championship appearances for the Frenchman’s former side last season, the £9m-rated striker scored a whopping nine goals – at a rate of 0.5 per game – as well as taking an average of 1.7 shots and making 0.7 key passes per fixture.
These returns saw the man Ismael himself dubbed an “unbelievable” player earn an average SofaScore match rating of 7.02, ranking him as Barnsley’s third-best player in the second tier of English football.
Furthermore, while Dike failed to provide an assist or create a big chance for his teammates during his stint at Oakwell last term, this could actually be viewed as something of a positive for Ismael, as the likes of Callum Robinson, Karlan Grant, Grady Diangana and Matt Phillips are all more than capable of creating opportunities, it is a greedy out-and-out goalscorer that the Frenchman is after.
And, with only Kenneth Zohore in his West Brom squad who could really be described as a classic number nine – a player who was loaned out to Millwall last season, where he scored just two goals over 17 Championship appearances – it is fairly obvious that, if Albion are indeed to go on and secure an immediate return to the top flight this season, they will need a more clinical option up top.
As such, it would appear highly advisable for Ismael to do all he can to seal a deal for Dike before the summer transfer window closes at the end of the month, as the American could well make all the difference in the club’s promotion push come next May.