West Brom currently find themselves in their worst run of form since the beginning of the season. They are winless in five and their inability to hold on to victories against struggling sides Charlton and Barnsley has created an anxious atmosphere amongst supporters. It is perhaps no surprise that this run of poor form has coincided with the untimely injury of Grady Diangana who has been absent in their last five matches.
His injury has given West Brom an insight as to what life without the mercurial winger would look like should West Ham activate the clause to recall him by the end of the month. When Harvey Barnes returned to Leicester last January, promotion slipped from the Baggies’ grasp, in part due to Albion never really replacing his presence. In order to ensure promotion this year, Bilic will hope Moyes doesn’t recall his young winger – something Bilic has admitted he is doing everything he can to keep him. But if the worst should happen, who may be coming through the door at The Hawthorns as Grady’s successor?
Emre Mor was a precocious talent who was snapped up as a teenager by Borussia Dortmund for almost £9 million in 2016 but was shipped off to Celta Vigo a year later as he struggled to settle in the Bundesliga. Mor shares a lot of technical similarities with Diangana; he is a fast, left-footed winger who relies on his trickery and direct running to impact games.
The talent he possesses is unquestionable, but according to El Demarsque, Galatasaray (who Mor has spent the first half of the season on loan with from Celta Vigo) wish to offload the 22 year-old winger and WBA should hijack his current deal. However some have sited a possible issue with his attitude and work ethic.
West Brom would have to fight off competition from Leeds and Brentford for this loan signing, but if Bilic could get the best out of Turkish international he could be an excellent, if risky, Diangana replacement.
Possibly the player Albion fans are most desperate to see in a West Brom shirt this transfer window. Bowen has been in exceptional form this season netting 16 times and setting up a further 5 goals for Hull, whilst also collecting the Championship’s Player of the Month award for November. Bowen’s pace, movement off the ball and graceful left foot has seen him play as both a false-nine and as a winger this season. You would suspect Slaven would slot Bowen in on the left wing if he were to sign for West Brom in the January window.
Leicester Mercury have reported that Hull have set a £20 million evaluation on their 23 year-old talisman and that West Brom are plotting a transfer strategy in order to secure the signature of one of the hottest prospects in the country. This would be a massive coup for the Midlands side and Bilic has admitted that there is money for Albion to spend this window. However, with a number of Premier League teams highly interested in signing Bowen, this may be too difficult a transfer for Albion to get over the line.
A name that often goes under the radar, Marcus Maddison has emerged as a target for the Throstles. With an expiring contract at the end of the season and an exemplary record for Peterborough, it is little wonder that a whole host of Championship clubs are battling it out to secure his services.
HITC claim there is a £2.5 million release clause in Maddison’s contract; a tiny fee considering he has a 1 in 4 goal record across almost 250 games for the East Midlands side from attacking midfield. A predominantly left-footed player, Maddison has the ability to shift the ball on to either foot and even though he may not be as quick as Diangana, he has quality delivery and, as mentioned, a keen eye for goal.
Albion have been shrewd in the transfer market since Bilic took over in the summer with the signings of Romaine Sawyers and Darnell Furlong in particular. Signing Maddison for £2.5 million would certainly fit this mould, but they face stiff competition to complete a deal from Middlesbrough, Derby County and Brentford amongst others for the versatile midfielder.
Although there has been no reported interest as of yet, do not be surprised if Bilic aims to bring in Watford youngster Domingos Quina. The Croatian worked with him at West Ham before Quina finalised a move to Watford at the beginning of last season. The Portuguese U21 international has struggled for game time at Vicarage Road, appearing off the bench only 4 times this season in the Premier League.
Nigel Pearson may look to send Quina out on loan to ensure some minutes for the promising midfielder, and West Brom could be the ideal destination should Diangana be recalled. Quina, known for his long range shooting and skilful dribbling, is more comfortable playing centrally, which could suit Albion considering Matheus Pereira was deployed as a winger in their last match against Charlton. The Baggies are no stranger to a left field signing and a loan in January may be the best scenario for all parties.