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West Brom signing this 29-year-old Championship star would be quite useful for Bilic this season

Why Andre Gray would be a decent signing for West Brom

According to the Express & Star, West Brom have made contact with Watford over a potential loan deal for striker Andre Gray, with Slaven Bilic looking to bolster his attack.

The Baggies have identified Huddersfield Town striker Karlan Grant as one of their top striker targets this summer. But Albion could shift their attention to signing Gray on loan if they are priced out of a transfer by the Terriers. (h/t Express & Star)

The report, however, doesn’t mention whether Watford are open to the prospect of sending Gray out on loan following their relegation to the Championship.

Profile

Born in Wolverhampton, Andre Gray started his youth career at hometown club Wolves before turning professional with Shrewsbury Town in League Two. However, he struggled for game time and was forced to drop down to the non-league arena to make a name for himself.

Andre Gray 'hosts lockdown party for 20' at mansion he shares with Little Mix singer - Mirror Online
West Brom have made a loan approach for Watford striker Andre Gray (Getty Images)

The 29-year-old eventually shot to prominence as a prolific goalscorer for Luton Town in the Conference Premier, thus paving the way for a move to the Championship with Brentford. 

Gray bagged 16 goals for the Bees in his debut season in the second-tier and followed it up with a 23-goal haul during the 2015-16 campaign to fire Burnley to promotion. Watford secured his services in the summer of 2017 after Gray scored 9 goals in his first season in the top-flight for Burnley.

The former England C international went on to register 14 goals and 5 assists in 83 appearances for Watford in the Premier League. Those returns are pretty decent when you consider that he wasn’t a regular starter for the Hornets and only started 7 league fixtures last term.

Gray an ideal signing but West Brom need star striker

Lack of goals was one of the major reasons behind West Brom’s undoing in the Premier League back in the 2017-18 season. The Baggies scored only 31 goals in their last top-flight campaign, which is something that will surely be playing on the minds of the recruitment team.

Watford ready to move on from Andre Gray controversy | East Lothian Courier
Gray started only 7 times in the Premier League for Watford last season (Getty Images)

Charlie Austin and Hal Robson-Kanu shared 10 goals apiece in the Championship last season, with both players topping the scoring charts at the Hawthorns. While those are decent returns, it’s worth mentioning that neither of them was anywhere close to matching the exploits of some of the top goal contributors in the division.

Both players have sufficient top-flight experience under their belt but their recent track record in the Premier League has been anything but impressive. Plus, with Kenneth Zohore already deemed surplus to requirements, West Brom certainly need another striker to ensure healthy competition for places up top.

Andre Gray has proven himself to be a decent striker at the Premier League level, as evident from his overall career track record of 23 goals and 8 assists in 115 appearances for Watford and Burnley.

He might not be capable of delivering 15 goals in a campaign to shoulder West Brom’s goalscoring workload single-handedly, but there’s more to his game than just goals.

Andre Gray, Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina left out of Watford squad following alleged lockdown party | Football News | Sky Sports
Source: Getty Images

Besides his obvious experience at this level, the 29-year-old looks capable of improving West Brom’s squad dynamics with his versatility. Gray is not only capable of leading the line as a lone striker but he also has the skillset to operate in a supporting role or out wide on the flanks. 

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 Verdict

West Brom would ideally need a more prolific striker to spearhead their attack in the Premier League but signing Andre Gray on loan would represent a shrewd piece of business for a number of reasons. 

Having already secured permanent deals for creative duo Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana, a potential move for Gray should put them in good stead for survival in the top-flight this season.

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