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 Brom are reportedly interested in a deal to sign Derby County winger Tom Lawrence, according to the Daily Mail.
Lawrence has been with the Rams since 2017, and has gone on to make 146 appearances in all competitions for the club, although it remains to be seen as to how much longer he’ll remain at Pride Park.
The Welsh winger made 23 appearances last term for Derby, as they narrowly avoided relegation into League One on the final day of the 2020/21 season.
Lawrence chipped in with three goals and two assists in that campaign, in one that was disrupted through injury, which will have been frustrating for the 27-year-old.
He has recently been named as Derby County’s new captain for the upcoming season, but that seemingly hasn’t stopped West Brom from registering their interest in landing his signature.
The Baggies are likely to be in the market for another winger, with Matheus Pereira voicing his intentions to depart The Hawthorns this summer, amid interest from the likes of West Ham and Leicester City.
We ask our Football League World writers what they make of West Brom’s rumoured interest in signing Lawrence, and whether they think he’d be a good enough addition to Valerien Ismael’s side or not.
It’s a tricky one.
Although there might be a cheap enough deal to be done with Derby County currently in financial bother with the EFL, Wayne Rooney may not be prepared to sell his new captain at any price considering how thin the Rams’ squad looks already, so it may take at least a few weeks for this deal to go through.
This may not be too much of an issue with West Brom unlikely to fork out the fee needed to lure Tom Lawrence to The Hawthorns until Pereira moves on, but it’s hard to see the Brazilian returning to the first-team squad for their opening league games.
And because of this, they would ideally want someone to come in quickly to fill the major void the 25-year-old will leave when he finally does depart from the West Midlands.
Lawrence might be worth waiting for though despite having a mixed last year, with the 27-year-old recording an impressive 14 goals contributions during the 2019/20 campaign.
Valerien Ismael’s side will want this version of him as opposed to last season’s, where he only made 23 appearances, scoring just three goals and securing two assists.
This is why they should keep an eye on other targets at this stage, although the winger would be a solid signing and someone who could easily come in to take Pereira’s spot.
I don’t think this would be a good signing to be honest.
For me, Tom Lawrence is far too inconsistent and is a shadow of the player he once was in the early stages of his time at Derby.
He seems to be one of those players who can have one good game, then go missing for the next three or four games.
For me, he isn’t an upgrade on what West Brom currently have. Even if Matheus Pereira leaves, they still have Grady Diangana, Karlan Grant, Matt Phillips and Callum Robinson.
It’s hard to see where Lawrence fits in, and I don’t particularly think that he’s a player who would suit Valerien Ismael’s system.
What was the score when West Brom last played at each of these 24 stadiums?
From the selection of players that Valerien Ismael has at his disposal, it looks as though he will be going for one central striker in his system flanked by two wingers, but looking at the squad it doesn’t seem as though a player like Lawrence is really needed.
There’s no doubting that the Wales international is a talented player and he hit double figures in goals in the 2019-20 campaign, but the Baggies are already stacked with talent in the areas that Lawrence would play.
Callum Robinson, Robert Snodgrass, Matt Phillips and Grady Diangana can all support the lone striker, which you’d assume will be Karlan Grant, so where would Lawrence really fit in?
It would only really make sense if Derby are willing to do a cheap deal – and considering Lawrence only has one year left on his contract at Pride Park the Rams may be willing to cash in.
If I was Ismael though I would invest my time right now into finding some competition for Grant in the central striker role unless he sees Callum Robinson as that man – if that is the case then Lawrence would be no more than a decent signing on what he showed last season.