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…
Despite his side being on top of the Championship, unbeaten in four matches and two points clear of their nearest rivals, West Brom manager Slaven Bilic may have cause to be concerned following a report in Claret & Hugh, which suggests that West Ham could look to recall attacker Grady Diangana in January.
Diangana is having a great season at the Hawthorns, but a clause in his loan contract gives the Hammers a two week window to recall the 21-year-old in January, and considering their current midfield short-comings, the odds on a recall must be shortening.
So how big a blow would it be to the Baggies if Diangana was recalled in the New Year?
“Losing Diangana would be a huge blow for West Brom’s prospects of managing to maintain their challenge for automatic promotion this season from the Championship, with the forward managing to both score and create some vital goals for the Baggies so far this campaign.
“West Brom will not be wanting to see a repeat of what happened last January when Harvey Barnes was recalled by Leicester City after establishing himself as an integral part of the Baggies’ attack, and there are definitely similarities emerging with the Diangana situation so far this season.
“However, unlike last season Slaven Bilic’s squad seems to be more capable of coping with the loss of Diangana, than West Brom were last season with Barnes where the Baggies were forced to alter their style and formation in his absence, where as this time they have more natural replacements lined up.
“Ideally West Brom would be able to convince West Ham to allow them to keep Diangana for the rest of the campaign with the argument he would develop further still with regular game time, but were they to lose it shouldn’t have as big am impact as the loss of Barnes last term.”
“It’s a huge blow if he leaves. Diangana has been a revelation so far this season out wide for the West Brom and would definitely need replacing if West Ham were to recall him.
“Diangana has four goals and three assists so far this season and has been an ever-present for Slaven Bilic’s side ever since signing on loan in August, showing his worth to the side.
“Diangana has been a vital part of the left side of an attacking midfield trident for the Baggies that has seen them sit top of the Championship, alongside players such as Matheus Pereira, Matt Phillips, Kyle Edwards, and Filip Krovinovic.
“West Brom must do all they can to convince West Ham not to recall the winger, as they face losing one of their key first-team players and would struggle to replace him in January.”
Will it be a huge blow to West Brom if the Hammers recall Grady Diangana in January?
“This could be a huge blow for Slaven Bilic and West Brom, with Diangana having played a big part in their early season success this season, which of course has seen them into first place.
“The youngster is really thriving under the stewardship of the former Hammers boss, and I think West Ham would risking curtailing his progress by recalling him half way through the season.
“The most logical step for me is for West Ham to allow Diangana to continue at the Hawthorns as he is more likely to get regular game time there, than he would if he was back at his parent club where there is more competition.
“If the player does get recalled, West Brom will surely have to secure a replacement who is capable of having the same impact of the youngster, otherwise they could be found lacking in creativity.”