Ex-West Bromwich Albion striker Kevin Phillips believes former Barnsley loanee Daryl Dike could be a great addition for the Baggies this summer and potentially a better one than Watford’s Andre Gray, speaking to West Brom News.
Dike, 21, spent the second half of last season under current West Brom manager Valerien Ismael at Barnsley, where he adapted to the Frenchman’s system seamlessly and scored nine goals in 19 Championship outings.
The United States international had an £18m permanent option inserted into his loan agreement with the Tykes – but after failing to gain promotion to the Premier League – the South Yorkshire side were unable to stump up the money.
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He has since been linked with a move to the Baggies – and he’s someone West Brom officials were keen on even before Ismael’s arrival at The Hawthorns so it’s a move that could potentially happen before the end of this month.
According to the Express and Star, the striker’s club Orlando City would want a sizeable loan fee if they were to take him on a temporary deal this season, although Matheus Pereira’s sale may have freed up the necessary funds for them to pursue this deal.
Andre Gray, on the other hand, is likely to be an irregular figure for Watford in the Premier League after seeing the Hornets recruit Ashley Fletcher, Emmanuel Dennis and Josh King this summer.
He scored five goals in 30 second-tier appearances last season as the Hertfordshire side returned to the top flight – but this promotion-winning experience isn’t enough for former Albion striker Kevin Phillips who believes Daryl Dike could be a better option this term.
In an interview with West Brom News, he said: “It always helps when a manager knows a player.
“He’s (Dike) been scoring goals and he’s a good player.
“Dike could come in and get settled straight away because he knows the manager, he knows the system.
“It’s not a no-brainer but if you can get it done for reasonable money, from the manager’s point of view, you know you’re getting a player who knows the ins and outs of how you work.
“That can sometimes give you a slight edge whereas another time you might bring another player in, they may have to adjust to a different system and way of playing. It could take time.
“Dike would be an interesting one but would I say go for him over Andre Gray? I think the fact he’s worked with Ismael, that could make him a preferred option.”
Although Andre Gray has plenty of experience at this level, his five goals in 30 appearances was a bit of a disappointment considering how good Watford were last season and this is perhaps one of the reasons why they should avoid signing him.
Dike, on the other hand, would be an outstanding acquisition but unless they cash in on another one of their prized assets in Sam Johnstone, the Baggies’ board might be reluctant to spend the money needed to lure him to the West Midlands.
Even though the season has already started, he would fit in seamlessly after adapting to manager Ismael’s system in the latter stages of last season and will have his former skipper Alex Mowatt there to introduce him to life at The Hawthorns.
Dike is likely to be keen on the move, Ismael will be, Orlando City are probably willing to sell him at the right price, so the only thing that could stop this potential move now is finances.
If they can overcome this hurdle though, expect to see him in a West Brom shirt before the end of the month, because this is a man that can ensure they return to the Premier League.