We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips claims West Brom should look into signing Mbaye Diagne permanently from Galatasaray if they are relegated from the Premier League.
Diagne, 29, has scored one goal and supplied one assist in his first five appearances for the Baggies after arriving in the Black Country on loan from Galatasaray in January.
He did brilliantly to score his first goal in English football in the 1-1 draw against Manchester United last week but the Senegal international has also proven to be wasteful in front of goal despite his ability to cause opposition defences issues.
Ex-West Brom striker Phillips has seen an improvement from Diagne but doesn’t think the centre-forward will do enough to keep the Baggies in the Premier League.
However, Super Kev does believe Diagne can be an affective option up front in the Championship.
“He’s a handful,” Phillips told West Brom News when asked for his thoughts on Diagne’s start to life in England. “He took his goal really well and I think you saw in the game before (against Tottenham) where he had a couple disallowed.
The good thing is that he looks strong, powerful and you can play up to him. He holds the ball, he’s not the quickest player in the world but he works his socks off.
“From what I’ve seen so far, he hasn’t set it alight but there’s certainly a player there from what I can see. When you’ve got a player in your side like that, it’s pretty clear what sort of way you need to play to play to his strengths. Get the ball out wide and get the balls in the box, as you saw with the goal against United. Get the ball in there and he plays within the width of the 18-yard box.
“He’s done well and I think he’s improving. Is he going to be able to do enough to keep them in the league? I don’t think so but if they do go down, they could maybe look at keeping him there for next season to try and help them get back up. In the Championship he’d be a big handful.
“I’ve seen some positive signs from him, let’s put it that way and I think the goal will help him as well.”
It remains to be seen what kind of agreement West Brom struck with Galatasaray when they signed Diagne on loan in January but Express & Star journalist Joseph Masi has recently reported that there’s a good chance the striker will only be signed permanently if Albion stay up.
Would Diagne be happy to play in England’s second-tier? He’s certainly taken to life at West Brom, dying his hair blue ahead of the 0-0 draw against Burnley.
However, if he impresses between now and the end of the season, it would be fair to assume that other top-flight clubs, in England or in Europe, would be keen on the Senegalese target man.
If they’re relegated – and that seems very likely – the Baggies do have a proven Championship goalscorer in Karlan Grant in their squad while Callum Robinson will be there too.
Let’s see how it goes but we doubt there’ll be much in the way of funds to sign many new players.
In other West Brom news, Albion have frozen out this player but it’s not for sporting reasons.