West Bromwich Albion will be hoping to bring at least one or two reinforcements in during the January transfer window to bolster their squad, ahead of a potential promotion push.
Although the Baggies currently sit in the play-off zone with the best defensive record in the league as things currently stand, their attacking play has left a lot to be desired for much of the 2021/22 campaign under Valerien Ismael.
Their inability to be clinical in front of goal has been one of Albion’s main issues despite having the likes of Grady Diangana and Jordan Hugill at their disposal, both of whom have failed to live up to expectations so far this season.
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This failure to hit the target often enough has ensured they have failed to turn draws into wins in games they should have taken all three points from, falling behind Blackburn Rovers recently because of these dropped points and are now in real danger of falling away from the automatic promotion race altogether unless they can turn their form around.
Victories against Coventry City and Reading earlier this month showed what a big difference consecutive wins can make in the Championship – but Ismael’s men need the firepower to be able to make a top-two finish more of a probability than a small possibility.
Departures could also be on the way though and that’s something they will need to contend with as the countdown to next month continues.
With this, we have delved deeper into some of the latest transfer rumours swirling around The Hawthorns at this stage.
Dike on the way?
As per The Telegraph’s John Percy, the second-tier side have opened talks with MLS outfit Orlando City over the potential loan signing of 21-year-old forward Daryl Dike, with the view to a permanent agreement between the two sides.
The United States international scored nine goals in 19 Championship matches under Ismael at Barnsley last term, making a real impact there after joining in January and almost being able to guide the Tykes to the top flight in what would have been a remarkable story.
Percy’s report has been strengthened by the Express and Star’s Joseph Masi, who believes Albion are currently ‘moving heaven and earth’ to try and get a deal over the line for the forward, as they attempt to address an area they have needed to improve for some time.
Capturing him would be nothing short of a coup for the fourth-placed side, with Premier League club Crystal Palace thought to have been keen on a move for the prolific frontman back in September.
His good form in front of goal has continued in the MLS this year, scoring 10 goals in 18 league games for Orlando during the 2021 season.
Yokuslu return on the cards?
In an interview with Goal in the summer, the Turkish international stated his desire to remain in the Premier League after spending the second half of last season on loan in the West Midlands, all but ruling out a potential return for the midfielder.
However, it has now been claimed that the 27-year-old wishes to play for the promotion contenders once again, with La Voz De Galicia also reporting last week that Baggies boss Ismael ‘would welcome his return’, making this deal a possibility in the upcoming window.
Any agreement is likely to be a temporary one though considering the money they may be willing to fork out for Dike, although a potential loan-to-buy deal may be an option if they regain promotion to the top flight.
Whether this deal can be reached will also depend on Yokuslu’s current side Celta Vigo. The Spanish outfit were thought to be open to selling him back in February – and that could still be the case having made just six La Liga appearances this term.
Where does Johnstone’s future lie?
According to talkSPORT’s Alex Crook, top-flight quartet Newcastle United, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United all remain interested in a move for shot-stopper Sam Johnstone ahead of next month.
The 28-year-old’s contract at The Hawthorns runs out at the end of the season and with a 2022 World Cup spot on the line, he may want to secure a move away to the top flight with or without his current side.
Talks over a potential extension have stalled at this stage and West Brom now risk losing him for nothing, unless they cash in on him during the January window.
However, the only bid to arrive for his services in the summer was a £6m offer from West Ham, so it seems unlikely at this stage that a club will come in with satisfactory terms for his departure considering his current contract situation.
Because of this, a summer move seems like the likeliest outcome, although promotion could persuade him to remain in the West Midlands.