Commentator Andy Hinchcliffe has warned West Bromwich Albion that new signing Daryl Dike will be under ‘enormous pressure’ to score goals and guide the club to promotion, sounding this warning on the Sky Sports EFL Podcast.
The 21-year-old arrived at The Hawthorns on Saturday for a fee reported to be in the region of £7m, with the Baggies thought to have ‘moved heaven and earth’ in their attempts to recruit the forward as they look to remedy their lack of cutting edge in front of goal.
Failing to turn draws into victories numerous times this season being of this inability to be clinical, this signing may come as an enormous relief to fans who have seen Norwich City loanee Jordan Hugill fail to fire on all cylinders since his summer move from Carrow Road.
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Previously playing under manager Valerien Ismael during the second half of last season at Barnsley and already being accustomed to the Frenchman’s system because of this, he is expected to fit in seamlessly with their next league match against Queens Park Rangers the target date for the striker’s debut as he works his way to full fitness.
And scoring nine times in 19 Championship displays during his time at Oakwell, he is likely to establish himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet straight away with the likes of Karlan Grant and Callum Robinson either side of him.
However, the excitement and hype surrounding his transfer has also created heightened pressure and expectations, something Sky Sports pundit Hinchcliffe stressed as he talked about this topic on the latest episode of the Sky Sports EFL Podcast.
He said: “For me, he’s clearly a step up from Jordan Hugill in terms of what he can bring to a West Brom performance.
“But, he has to be the man that sticks the ball in the back of the net. You can’t keep creating chances game after game and draw or lose.
“The pressure on him is enormous because West Brom fans will be saying ‘you need to fire us to promotion’.
“So he’s going to be under pressure, it will be very interesting to see how quickly he fits in.”
This is a great point from Hinchcliffe – because it will still take time for Dike to settle into his surroundings and the fact this is a permanent move won’t provide him with the ‘get out of jail card’ of returning to his parent club.
This is something he had at his disposal at Barnsley, so how well he can make the adaptation to life in the West Midlands remains to be seen, though his time in England in the first half of last year should help to some extent.
Judging when he should make his debut will also be tricky. Although Ismael will be eager to throw him in as soon as possible in a bid to turn around their fortunes, something the 46-year-old needs to ensure he retains his position as head coach, an injury from rushing him could prove to be even more costly.
Being mentally and physically ready will be extremely important for a man who will be desperate to make an instant impression – and his first few games could end up setting the tone for the remainder of his time at The Hawthorns.
Perhaps this is looking at his situation in a too downbeat manner because Baggies fans will rightly be enjoying this addition – but a quick start will be important.