This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Brom manager Slaven Bilic faces competition from Premier League new boys Aston Villa and Sheffield United in his pursuit of Coventry City midfielder Tom Bayliss, it is reported in The Sun.
Bayliss, 20, had an excellent season for Mark Robins’ side, scoring three goals and recording two assists, in 40 appearances in all competitions in what proved to be a breakthrough season with the Sky Blues.
Able to operate efficiently both offensively and defensively from the central midfield position, Bayliss is proving to be an attractive prospect, considering his age and the experience he has acquired already in his career.
So would Bayliss prove a good addition to the West Brom squad?
“At 20 years old, Bayliss is a very experienced player who has a bright future.
“Considering the amount of players West Brom have lost due to loans expiring and contracts, they need to bolster their squad out and Bayliss could be a good solution for this.
“He clearly has big potential and could be a good player on the periphery of the starting 11 who can develop.
“However, with West Brom also having decent home grown centre midfielders in Sam Field and Rekeem Harper, it might be tough to keep them all happy and share the game time.
“Overall I think that West Brom should be targeting more experienced players in midfield, and perhaps ones with Championship experience. While Bayliss would be a good buy, they’re not short of young central midfielders and could end up overstocking in that area.”
“He’s another good young player to start shining at Coventry and you can see why comparisons are being made to James Maddison’s progression.
“Of course, it is still hard to predict exactly what is going to happen with the player in the coming years but the early signs suggest he is ready for that next step up.
“Slaven Bilic is the sort of manager you want to see young players learn from, too, given his personable manner and coaching style and so this could be an ideal move for him as well as for the Baggies.
“A club local to Coventry, too, it would soften any settling in period as well you would have thought.”
“This would be a shrewd signing from a club who have to be clever this transfer window.
“West Brom simply do not have the funds to go splashing huge fees and wages on top Championship talent this time around so targeting exciting players further down the pyramid is the way to go.
“Last season saw both Darren Moore and Jimmy Shan struggle to decide on their strongest midfield combination with the likes of James Morrison, Chris Brunt, Rekeem Harper and Stefan Johansen all failing to find much consistency.
“20-year-old Bayliss would add some much-needed competition in the area and would bring some serious attacking nous and versatility too, having played across the midfield for Coventry last season.”