West Bromwich Albion had one of the most fearsome attacking pairings in the Championship last season. With 46 goals between them, Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle certainly took the division by storm after all.
So now that Rodriguez has returned to Burnley while Gayle’s loan spell from Newcastle United has come to an end, Slaven Bilic and co have discovered that replacing two strikers who found the net for fun in the second tier is easier said than done.
With the new season just days away, Kenneth Zohore is the Baggies’ only new addition in the final third. Yet this is not for a lack of trying.
According to the Express and Star, two deals that looked as dead as the proverbial dodo are being resuscitated. West Brom still harbour hopes of bringing in Sporting Lisbon winger Matheus Pereira on loan while talks are underway about a deal for Basel’s Switzerland international Albian Ajeti.
Claims earlier in the week suggested that Ajeti, who scored 21 goals last season, was simply too expensive. But his wage demands, it seems, are not quite as substantial as first feared.
Ajeti is a natural-born goal-scorer who loves nothing more than a loose ball in the penalty area. He is brilliant in the air and a clinical finisher from anywhere in the 18-yard box who seems to have that useful knack of being in the right place at the right time.
Comparisons will be drawn, and rightly so, with Teemu Pukki, the prolific Finn whose goals fired Norwich City to the Championship title last season.
With Pereira providing the ammunition from out wide, this could be a partnership which makes everyone at The Hawthorns forget all about Rodriguez and Gayle.
Sort out a leaky back line and promotion, automatic or otherwise, is still on the cards.
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