With just two days left of the January transfer window, business hasn’t been at the level most would have liked in regards to West Bromwich Albion.
Daryl Dike arrived at the beginning of the month for big money and had it not been for his unfortunate injury it would have very much been a case of one and done for Albion.
The manager confirmed that the 33-year-old had joined on Friday afternoon on a short-term-deal until the end of the season.
Carroll, who has spent the last two months with Championship struggler’s Reading, made his debut for the Baggies 24 hours later at Millwall but was unable to have the desired affect as Albion stumbled to a 2-0 defeat.
It begs the question, ‘is that really it?’ in terms of recruitment because judging by the last two months in particular - Ismael’s men are a long, long way off where they want to be.
Here’s the state of play for the final few days of the window in the Black Country.
Unless something drastic changes between now and Monday at 11PM - business looks all but done on the ‘ins’ front for Albion.
Daryl Dike’s signing set the club back around £9million - a real hefty fee to be spending in the January window.
But as touched on above, his injury means the club simply had to act and did so in bringing in Andy Carroll.
Carroll certainly adds more depth for Albion up front but a man that has scored four goals in three years isn’t going to get the juices flowing of many down at the Hawthorns.
With that said, he did have a relatively solid debut. He caused problems and looked like he actually wanted it which is already an improvement over many that were out on the field at the Den.
Siriki Dembele, whilst not publicly on the radar of Albion is a transfer being pursued by both promotion rivals Bournemouth and local rivals Birmingham City.
The Peterborough United striker is available for around £2million and with the Baggies’ ongoing issues in front of goal, he would surely be someone worth at least testing the water with before the deadline.
Jorgan Hugill who spent the first-half of the season on loan in the west midlands has returned to parent club Norwich City.
It’s been rumoured for weeks that the 29-year-old, who struggled during his time with Albion, was no longer in Ismael’s plans following the arrival of Dike and he was finally allowed to return to Norfolk as of Friday.
The forward isn’t the only out expected at the Hawthorns, though.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Millwall, the manager said, “outgoing everything can happen.”
“A lot of talk ongoing behind the scenes. We still have three days until Monday so I expect something to happen.”
Robert Snodgrass and Kenneth Zohore are the two obvious names who have absolutely no place with the Baggies anymore but the chances of any clubs coming in with money to take them off Ismael’s hands is highly unlikely.
Whilst the manager added that Sam Johnstone will come back into the eleven for the next game following the fall-out between the two - a transfer away can’t be ruled out.
Interest has always been there for Johnstone and with his contract up in the summer, now is the final time the club will be able to cash in on their number one.
Areas of concern
Sadly, there appear to be plenty.
Without stating the obvious and bringing up the lack of goals, especially considering Dike and Carroll have both now been brought in - the biggest issue for me is the midfield.
Defensively, for the most part they have been relatively solid. Whilst there have been mistakes in recent games, the quality in defence is more than able enough to compete.
Midfield however, there is not one player you look at and have faith in in terms of dictating when backs are against the wall and that has been exposed greatly in recent weeks.
Once this team goes behind or faces the slightest bit of adversity, there is little to no faith that they can get back into it.
Alex Mowatt, Adam Reach, Jayson Molumby, Jake Livermore - what do these four all have in common? Too much. And that’s the problem.
All are very similar players and regardless of who starts and who comes on as a substitute, you aren’t optimistic about them being able to change the fortunes of a match.
A loan deal from a Premier League side wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world - someone like Philip Zinckernagel who’s currently at Nottingham Forest on loan from Watford.
Loan or permanent, based on the last two months - you’ve got to expect or at least hope something is in the works in the background at Albion.
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