After signing in a bumper deal from West Ham United last season, it could be argued that Grady Diangana hasn’t quite had the impact that West Brom fans would have expected so far.
The decision to bring the winger in on a permanent basis was an ambitious one from the Baggies following a successful loan spell in the 2019-20 season, and it’s one that drew the ire of Hammers fans and players who believed he was a talent that should have remained at the London Stadium.
Diangana played 20 Premier League games last season and scored just once, rarely featuring under Sam Allardyce at the back end of the campaign as Albion were relegated back to the Championship.
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He’s started more often than not under Valerien Ismael this season but Diangana rarely completes 90 minutes, and yet again he’s struggled to make a direct impact on matches.
A scoring breakthrough this season came though against Middlesbrough on Saturday as Diangana was in the right place at the right time to equalise, and it’s a goal that could potentially kick-start his season.
Former Albion striker Kevin Phillips is a big fan of Diangana and believes that if the 23-year-old can be kept fit then Ismael has a very handy asset to use for the remainder of the campaign.
“I’ve said all along that he probably just needs a run in the side to get him back to where we know he can play,” Phillips said to West Brom News.
“We’ve seen it in glimpses over the past couple of seasons so it’s great to see him back, fully fit and in amongst the goals.
“That can only be a huge positive for West Brom moving forward, they just need to keep him fit.
“It also creates competition for the other players so it’s fantastic that he’s got on the scoresheet and moving forward, there’s a run of games after the international week and it’s important everyone is top of their game.
“It’s brilliant that he’s back on form. I said I’d like to see him back in and he’s come back in a got himself a goal.”
Still at the age of 23, Diangana has his career ahead of him and like most wingers he is quite inconsistent right now.
The reality of the situation is if Diangana was consistent then he’d be playing every week in the Premier League, and perhaps his season in the top flight where he was only used sporadically last season has hampered him somewhat.
Ismael lacks a lot of options for his front three though and it’s given more of a chance for the ex-West Ham man to express himself even if not a lot is coming off.
A first goal of the season last weekend though is a start and if he can develop a more consistent end product then the Baggies have one heck of a player on their books for the promotion push.