West Brom’s 25-goal transfer target would be no upgrade on Gayle – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

In West Brom’s opening pre-season game against Villarreal last weekend, Slaven Bilic resorted to playing Oliver Burke in attack.

Albion started the game with two up top and after the match, the Croatian revealed that was the sort of system he was hoping to play more often.

It’s alarming, therefore, that at the moment Hal Robson-Kanu and new signing Kenneth Zohore –  whose scoring record in English football isn’t exactly outstanding – are their only natural strikers currently in the first team.

Dwight Gayle, of course, won’t return following his loan spell whilst Jay Rodriguez has gone back to Burnley.

As a result, the Baggies are left staring down the barrel of a distinct lack of goals heading into the new campaign.

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One striker who has been linked with the club is Neal Maupay, although Express & Star suggest West Brom are behind clubs in the Premier League in the race for his signature.

The Brentford man was in electrifying form in the Championship last term, finishing with 25 league goals to his name.

Coincidentally, that was one goal more than Gayle managed under Darren Moore and Jimmy Shan in 2018/19.

Gayle was one of the ring leaders in their pursuit of promotion, scoring on a regular basis as he helped them to a play-off place.

Yet, would Maupay actually make a good replacement? It’s hard to deny he wouldn’t be a good signing. After all, the 22-year-old contributed to 33 strikes in 43 outings.

Dwight Gayle and Neal Maupay - West Brom's 25-goal transfer target would be no upgrade on Gayle - opinion

However, as far as finding the net goes, he actually requires far more attempts on goal for him to beat the goalkeeper, something that could be seen as somewhat of a negative.

The Frenchman only found the net on one more occasion than Gayle despite having 3.3 shots per game and making three more appearances.

The former Albion loanee had 2.4 shots per game and although that perhaps shows he doesn’t get into strong positions as much, it demonstrates that he’s far more clinical when he does actually get a chance.

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On that evidence, one could argue that Maupay would struggle to score as many goals, particularly without the service of Said Benrahma.

He was a player who registered 14 assists for the Bees last term, whereas no West Brom man achieved more than seven.

Therefore, if Maupay needs more chances to score, it’s unlikely he’ll get that at the Hawthorns and as such, could struggle to replicate the form he produced at Brentford.

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