Friday night’s goalless draw at Oakwell outlined just how important the January transfer window is likely to be for West Bromwich Albion.
Albion dominated Barnsley but were unable to give Valerien Ismael a win against his former side, with the lack of quality in the final third once again an issue.
Ismael outlined after the game that signing a new goalscorer would be a priority next month but central midfield may be an area they look to strengthen as well.
Robert Snodgrass’ Hawthorns tenure looks set to come to an end, which will leave Jake Livermore, Alex Mowatt, and Jayson Molumby as the only senior central midfield options available to the French coach.
There are players that can step up from the academy and others whose versatility means they can do a job but as the race for promotion continues to hot up, having more depth in the centre of the park could be the difference as the Baggies look to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
One name that should be on their radar is Joe Rothwell, who is enjoying the best season of his senior career at Blackburn Rovers and has helped the Ewood Park outfit launch a serious promotion push of their own.
Rothwell is industrious out of possession but it’s been his creativity that has been so pivotal to Rovers’ recent ascent up the table into third place.
No Blackburn player averages more key passes per game (1.4) than the 26-year-old, who has already far surpassed his own single-season record for assists with seven – more than any player in either the Albion or Rovers squad this term.
The midfielder’s current deal is set to expire in the summer and sources informed Football League World in October that Rangers were expected to sign him on a pre-contract next month.
However, since Steven Gerrard was replaced by Giovanni van Bronckhorst, things have gone completely quiet concerning the Ibrox outfit’s pursuit of Rothwell – as per an update from journalist Alan Nixon yesterday.
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West Brom should look to capitalise on that by making a move of their own for the midfielder in January.
Blackburn may be a direct promotion rival but a significant offer could still force their hand as they’re currently set to lose Rothwell for nothing in the summer.
There’s no doubt that a new goalscorer should be top of West Brom’s list and getting a deal for him might be tough but raiding Rovers for the 26-year-old next month could prove to be a masterstroke.