Former West Bromwich Albion striker Kevin Phillips has said it wouldn’t surprise him to see new appointment Valerien Ismael dip into the transfer market to sign Orlando City forward Daryl Dike, with the two linking up at Barnsley last season.
Dike, 21, signed for the Tykes on loan from Orlando City and scored nine goals in 19 Championship matches, although Barnsley were unable to sign him permanently after narrowly missing out on promotion.
Even before Ismael’s appointment, West Brom were one of the sides interested in signing the 21-year-old according to TEAMtalk, and they could potentially pursue this option again with his former manager now at the helm.
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Barnsley previously had the chance to sign him permanently for £18m as part of their loan agreement with his parent club – but his price is likely to have risen further after impressing at Oakwell and several sides now interested in acquiring his services.
According to last month’s TEAMtalk exclusive, a total of eight teams including Premier League sides Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers were said to be in the race for the United States international but his former manager’s presence at the Hawthorns and his promotion-chasing ambitions may persuade Dike to join West Brom.
Kevin Phillips, who was asked if he thought Ismael would attempt to re-sign Dike, said to West Brom News: “I think he will.
“Managers naturally go back to their old club to try and pick a couple of players out that have been good for them and been Steady Eddies.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Ismael looks back at Barnsley.
“It’s an area where West Brom definitely need to sign someone to put that ball in the back of the net.
“Dike could be an option – I’m pretty sure he’ll look at that.”
With the Baggies now back in the Championship, the potential price tag that could be set for Dike may be too high, although a few sales at the Hawthorns could free up the money needed to bring him to the West Midlands.
Although they are probably one of the best-equipped teams in the Championship to make this signing, it would be a big risk with the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules in play, especially if they also retain key players like Sam Johnstone and Matheus Pereira.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the financial uncertainty surrounding it has deterred many clubs from splashing the cash on an individual player, so it would be quite a development if they were to make a big-money move for him.
It’s certainly a much different move compared to another target in Emiliano Marcondes, who is available on a free transfer after leaving newly-promoted Premier League side Brentford this summer.
However, he’s a quality player and could be the man to lead Valerien Ismael’s men to the Premier League. If it doesn’t work out, it could be a financial disaster. But if it does, the signing would be a coup and potentially what Ismael needs for the Baggies to win an automatic promotion spot.