With clubs more guarded than ever in the transfer market, it’s not often they make their interest in a player so public. However, according to the Birmingham Mail, West Brom were so smitten with Belgian forward Laurent Depoitre that couldn’t help shouting it from the rooftops.
The publication reported that The Baggies invited the striker’s agent to a game at The Hawthorns in order to take their pursuit to the next level with ‘The Beast’ scoring for fun in his homeland with Gent.
And it seemed as if Midland rivals Aston Villa were equally besotted. Voetbalkrant reported that one of the club’s scouts admitted that Villa had made Depoitre their number one target, regardless of whether they ended the season with relegation.
A tally of 26 goals in 66 appearances seemed to be enough to convince West Brom and Villa to part with £12 million for a late-blooming forward who had recently capped a rapid rise to fame with a goal on his international debut against Andorra.
That was a year ago. Now, you can almost guarantee that Depoitre would be available for a much lower fee. The 28-year-old eventually swapped Gent for Porto last summer but a tally of one goal and two starts in a disastrous debut season in Porto is one sure-fire way to bring down the price tag.
According to Sport Witness, West Brom sent scouts to watch Porto’s clash with Vitoria Setubal on Sunday, with Depoitre making a one-minute cameo off the bench – his seventh appearance of the season.
However, despite the substandard form of Salomon Rondon, it appears that the time has passed for Depoitre to earn a move to England. Aston Villa, meanwhile, have spent enough on strikers this season.
They may be the lowest scoring team in the top half of the Championship but it feels as if Depoitre really isn’t worth the risk.