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 Bromwich Albion are embarking on a new era under Valerien Ismael, with the Frenchman set to offer a clean slate to a host of the squad he’s inherited.
Amongst those players looking to make an impression is Karlan Grant. He arrived from Huddersfield Town last summer in a deal that could potentially be worth £15m in the future.
However, the forward struggled in the Premier League last season, with just one goal in 21 appearances.
The 23-year-old is stepping back down to a level he’s comfortable at, though, having bagged 19 goals for Huddersfield in 2019/20.
Our writers discuss whether Grant can get back to his best under Ismael and have an impact for West Brom:
Absolutely. I’m expecting Grant to be Ismael’s go-to guy for goals this season and, brashly, I’m backing him to deliver.
The 23-year-old was a player I watched closely at Huddersfield in 2019/20, when he scored goals in a struggling side and caused a constant threat from the left-flank.
For one reason or another, West Brom haven’t really got the best out of him in that role. He can be lethal cutting in onto his right foot, scoring goals or creating chances for a focal point.
To my mind, it is absolutely essential that West Brom get a traditional No.9 to come in this season and lead the line. That player has to be a presence, as it will bring the best out of Grant and allow him to deliver the goals from a supporting role.
Steve Mounie or Fraizer Campbell were perfect for Grant at Huddersfield, with Ismael just needing to find a striker of that ilk to bring the best out of Grant.
He’s a £15m player for a reason and anyone writing him off at this moment could be made to eat their words.
I’m not sure how much high pressing Grant has done in his career so far, so firstly I expect Ismael’s methods and system to be a bit of a fresh concept for him to learn.
However, there is a reason why the Baggies paid £15million for the striker and that is because he scores goals at Championship level, which he showed as a Huddersfield Town player.
Grant may not exactly suit as playing the central striker in an Ismael front three as he tends to have a more physical player who can hold the ball up in there – at Barnsley he had both Cauley Woodrow and Daryl Dike to do that job.
With Grant, though, you’ll get someone who has a burst of pace and who likes to run at defenders, but mixed in with that is his poaching instinct.
I see no reason as to why Grant won’t be a success under Ismael and supported by the likes of Callum Robinson and Grady Diangana, the Baggies as a whole should flourish in the attacking third next season.
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I expect him to be West Brom’s first-choice striker next season.
It wasn’t the start to life that Grant would have had in mind at the Hawthorns, but I’d back him to make up for lost time this term.
West Brom need a striker that has a proven record in front of goal to fire them back into the Premier League, and Grant has certainly done that.
He was in brilliant form for Huddersfield Town not so long ago, and with quality players alongside him in the West Brom team, you have to feel as though he’ll thrive this season under the management of Valerien Ismael.
If Grant can hit the ground running this season, then it really wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see him score 20+ goals relatively comfortably for the Baggies.