Former West Bromwich Albion forward Kevin Phillips has urged his old side to recruit a goalscoring midfielder during the January transfer window, speaking in an interview with West Brom News.
These comments emerge after the Baggies’ failure to get on the scoresheet against Derby County yesterday, suffering a 1-0 defeat at Pride Park as they fired yet another blank in front of goal.
Following a disappointing 0-0 draw in their previous game against Barnsley prior to the clash in the East Midlands, they will have been disappointed not to have bounced back with a few goals, though their inability to put the ball in the back of the net against Wayne Rooney’s men will have come as little surprise to many.
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Albion have suffered with this chronic lack of quality in the final third at multiple stages of the 2021/22 campaign, with Jordan Hugill failing to impress during his loan spell away from Norwich City so far and only Karlan Grant stepping up to the plate regularly with goals for Valerien Ismael’s side this term.
Numerous strikers have been linked with a move to The Hawthorns including Daryl Dike, Callum Lang and Cauley Woodrow in the last couple of weeks, with the Baggies’ manager admitting this was an area they need to address in their quest to get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
But Phillips believes a goalscoring player in the middle of the park is needed to provide the West Midlands side with the firepower needed for them to succeed.
He said to West Brom News: “Definitely, I don’t think there’s one player in that team who can get you 20 goals a season.
“To get promoted, you need a player like that to get goals around so I think that will be one of the processes.
“They need to get a goal-scoring midfielder but that’s easier said than done. They’re few and far between.
“But I think if you can get a player in who’s not afraid to pull the trigger, and get in and around the box, is a player they’re probably looking to get.
“Someone who can get in the box and try and get you goals.”
After scoring eight goals in 44 league appearances for Barnsley last season, Alex Mowatt looked to be the man to provide the bulk of the Baggies’ goals in midfield and although he has managed to score three times this season, he would have wanted a couple more goals considering the strength of his side and the fact he has spent plenty of time with manager Ismael.
In fairness, he has only played 18 times during this campaign because of his injury, but he will be hoping to contribute more frequently during the second half of 2021/22.
It would perhaps be a risk to play a more advanced midfielder alongside Mowatt in their current 3-4-3 system, but they could potentially change formation to play Jake Livermore and the ex-Tyke behind a third man in the middle of the park.
Unfortunately, Ismael is unlikely to make the switch, so he may be relying on his existing players and a new forward to come up with the goods.
Phillips does provoke an interesting talking point though – and that’s the fact everyone will need to contribute going forward if their season is to be a success. They may need a striker – but they can’t expect him to change their fortunes on his own.