The fact that West Brom are sending scouts to watch Gent in Europa League action against Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night is no surprise. After all, they will be far from the only Premier League team in attendance with the Birmingham Mail reporting that representatives from Leicester City, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Manchester United will also make the trip to the Ghelamco Arena.
However, a very specific brief may have been included in the Baggies' talent-spotters’ spying mission. Tony Pulis’s side may be sitting pretty in the top half of the Premier League right now, but the fact they have achieved the feat with just one bona fide centre-forward in their ranks - seven goal top-scorer Salomon Rondon - borders on the miraculous.
Therefore, Gent’s towering Kalifa Coulibaly could catch the eye against Mauricio Pochettino’s visitors. At 6ft 4ins, it is tempting to view the Malian hit man is the prototype Pulis striker and you would not be mistaken.
Coulibaly has mustered eight headed attempts in six Europa League games this season, making him an enticing magnet for the expert deliveries of Chris Brunt and Matty Phillips.
Furthermore, although the 25-year-old has netted just five domestic goals this season, he has starred on the continent, scoring eight times in both the group stages and the qualifiers.
And that is without mentioning the fact that four of his five league goals have come against the Jupiler League’s top four sides.
Clearly, Coulibaly is a big man for the big occasion.
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