The Baggies signed the Nigerian forward from Everton on transfer deadline day, but his career scoring record fails to impress on first viewing.
West Brom were a difficult opponent last term, finishing eighth, with loan forward Romelu Lukaku the focal point of an industrious attack. With the Belgian marksman leaving The Hawthorns after his temporary deal at the end of the season, the 17 Premier League goals that the Chelsea man bagged needs to be replaced this term to keep West Brom out of relegation danger.
Along with the signature of veteran Nicolas Anelka and loan moves for Udinese’s Matej Vydra and Scott Sinclair, Steve Clarke’s men were boosted on transfer deadline day by the capture of Nigerian forward Victor Anichebe from Everton. It has been stated that the fee for the new man could rise up to £6 million, dependant on appearances and add-ons.
Lukaku ironically played his part in the deal. With Chelsea willing to allow the Belgian to go out on loan, Everton sealed up a season-long temporary deal for him, allowing Anichebe to be sold to West Brom.
The Baggies’ priority would have been to bring Lukaku back to The Hawthorns for another term if given the choice, but with this not possible Anichebe’s signings offer similarities to last season’s goal hero. The Nigeria international has similar strength, ability in the air and a presence to lead the line that Lukaku offered so successfully last term.
The problem though is goals, or a distinct lack of them. West Brom sit on the bottom of the Premier League table after three fixtures and have as yet failed to score a goal. Anichebe has been brought in to contribute his share to the goal burden, but his Premier League scoring record at Everton on first sight is not overly impressive.
In eight seasons and 131 appearances at Goodison Park, Anichebe netted just 18 Premier League goals. This is only one more than what Lukaku managed in one campaign in 2012-13. The new man’s best goalscoring return came last term, with the back of the net hit six times.
It is worth noting that Anichebe has never really been an out-and-out first-choice forward at Everton, with heavy usage from the bench. He has also suffered from frustrating injuries.
Anichebe does bring other positive attributes to the table such as a tireless work-rate. He is a handful for opposition defenders due to his stature and gets his share of assists. However, in the Baggies’ current situation and with the personnel at their disposal, a lack of goals could well see them in relegation danger this term.
At West Brom Anichebe will be given a chance to play consistently and as such could well be in for his best-ever goalscoring campaign. The Baggies faithful will be praying that he can become more lethal in front of goal than his track record suggests, or it could be a long and hard season at The Hawthorns.
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