With West Bromwich Albion signalling their intent to bring in players during the January transfer window, there will be the inevitable frenzy of names linked with a move to the Hawthorns.
One name that has popped up a several times in recent windows is Odion Ighalo.
Ahead of Watford and Ighalo’s visit to the Hawthornsthis Saturday, it seems the perfect opportunity to ask whether or not the Baggies should make a move for the forward.
Last season, Ighalo took the Premier League by storm. The Nigerian’s formidable partnership with Troy Deeney helped fire Quique Sanchez Flores’ newly promoted side to a 13th-placed finish. Ighalo’s first season in England’s top flight was a fruitful one, as he bagged 16 league goals - including a hot streak of seven goals in six matches.
However, the arrival of Walter Mazzarri has thrown Ighalo’s Watford future into doubt. The ex-Granada man has struggled to find a role in the new manager’s formation, and was dropped to the bench following their 6-1 defeat to Liverpool.
The impressive form of fellow Nigerian forward Isaac Success means Ighalo has fallen even further down the pecking order at Vicarage Road. If Igahlo is still out-of-favour in January, the Pozzos may be tempted to protect his value and offload him sooner rather than later.
Importantly for West Brom, Ighalo meets the Tony Pulis preference for proven Premier League talent. At 27 years old, Igahlo would represent a good investment for the Baggies, and he comes without the injury concerns that muddled Diafra Sakho’s transfer.
Deceitfully strong on the ball and a neat finisher, Ighalo would be the ideal replacement for Hawthorns outcast Saido Berahino.
Ighalo’s stats can be a tad misleading.
The forward’s form in front of goal has slumped dramatically since February; only managing 2 goals in his last 25 league appearances for the Hornets.
Therefore, any move for Igahlo would be a gamble on him recapturing the form and confidence that he showed midway through last season.
Moreover, the forward’s price tag may have been inflated by the £38m bid from Chinese club Shanghai SIPG that Watford turned down in the summer. Add in the fact that Watford would be selling to a Premier League rival, and the deal becomes even more complicated.
Sign him up?
Tony Pulis might fancy the challenge of reviving Ighalo’s form. If he could make it work - and that's a big 'if' on current form - Albion would have a lethal Premier League goal scorer entering the prime years of his career.
However, the timing and economics make this a hard deal to push through. Which is why a potential swap deal between Ighalo and Berahino could be an interesting move for both clubs. The switch would certainly go a long way to rejuvenating the strikers fledging Premier League careers.
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