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Bilic stance could mean West Brom are running a risk of losing attacker – opinion

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Slaven Bilic will likely be pleased with his start to life as West Bromwich Albion boss.

His side are fourth in the Championship, with 12 points from six games, and have likely not yet shown their full strength given the number of new arrivals in the summer.

Bilic took around three weeks to make his first signing after taking over but brought in 10 players before the window closed, many of whom have been integral to the Baggies’ success so far.

With the summer departures of last season’s top-scoring duo Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez, the Croatian coach had to add a whole new forward line, signing Kenneth Zohore and Charlie Austin.

He also brought in defensive reinforcements in Semi Ajayi and Darnell Furlong, in addition to revamping his midfield with the additions of Romaine Sawyers and Filip Krovinovic.

Bilic boosted his options on the flanks on transfer deadline day, signing Grady Diangana, Matheus Pereira and Chris Willock, all on-loan.

The majority of the new arrivals have settled into the squad well, however, West Brom could be in danger of seeing one of their attacking options depart in January.

One of the trio brought in late in deadline day, Willock joined on a season-long loan deal from Portuguese giants Benfica.

The 21-year-old is a product of the Arsenal academy system but left the club to join Benfica on a free transfer in the summer of 2017.

A right-footed winger who was identified as “a very, very good player” by Gunners playmaker Mesut Ozil, Willock is capable of playing on both flanks but has spent the majority of his career on the left.

He took a season to get settled after making the move but excelled for the Benfica B team in Portugal’s second tier in the 2018/19 campaign, scoring 11 goals and providing seven assists in 34 appearances.

However, the England under-20 forward has not been given an opportunity at West Brom.

Despite providing two goals and two assists in two games for the Baggies under-23s, Willock is yet to be named in a matchday squad in the Championship and was an unused substitute in the Carabao Cup loss to Millwall.

Championship Picks

His absence is perhaps understandable due to the strength in depth Bilic has at his disposal out wide.

Youngster Kyle Edwards has impressed early in the season, Diangana has made a fast start to life at the Hawthorns with three goals in four appearances, Matty Phillips has just signed a new contract and looks set to be a regular fixture, and Pereira is knocking on the door.

Benfica surely sent the 21-year-old on loan to the Championship to get some first-team experience and cannot be impressed with his lack of opportunities thus far.

The Portuguese club are understood to have the option of a January recall and should this continue it looks likely they may use it.

At the moment that may not seem like a major issue but getting promoted from the Championship, as the Baggies surely will expect to this season, is a long haul and they may need Willock later in the campaign.

At this point, the club look in serious danger of losing an attacking option in January and it may end up being a series of events they live to regret.


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Bilic stance could mean West Brom are running a risk of losing attacker – opinion

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