West Bromwich Albion have been dealt a major blow in their bid to bring Liam Delap to The Hawthorns this summer.
That’s according to a claim made by Alan Nixon, with The Sun journalist revealing in a post on Twitter that Stoke City look to be the centre-forward’s most likely destination if he is to leave Manchester City on a temporary deal in the summer transfer window.
In his tweet, Nixon said: “Everybody interested thinks he goes to Stoke.”
Previous reports have suggested that West Brom manager Valerien Ismael is also extremely keen on a move for the 18-year-old, as the Frenchman believes that his Albion squad is lacking depth in the number nine role.
While it may seem that West Brom are not in desperate need of attacking reinforcements at present, as the Baggies have scored a league-high 11 Championship goals over their opening four fixtures of the season, Ismael’s concerns regarding his lack of depth up front do seem well-founded.
Indeed, while it is true that both Karlan Grant and Callum Robinson are more than capable of operating in the middle of a front three, both players are perhaps more suited to cutting in from the wing rather than being the focal point of the attack – with Kenneth Zohore being Ismael’s only real option as an out and out centre-forward.
And, considering the 27-year-old was loaned out to Millwall last season, where he scored a mere two Championship goals over 17 appearances, it would certainly appear as if the Denmark international could be upgraded on.
As such, a move for Delap would have seemed to make a great deal of sense for West Brom, with the Man City starlet appearing to boast a substantial amount of potential, having scored a whopping 30 goals across his 27 appearances for City’s U23 side and first-team last season.
However, if Nixon is to be believed, it looks as if Ismael’s apparent hesitation in sanctioning a swoop for the 18-year-old has presented Stoke with something of a clear run at the striker, which will be gutting news for Albion fans to read.
And, with the Potters highly impressing over their opening fixtures of the new Championship season, only sitting behind Albion in the league on goal difference, should Michael O’Neill’s side indeed go on to land Delap this summer, his potential goals for Stoke could well directly impact the Baggies’ chances of securing a top-two finish in the league.