Diligent Dowling: WBA may already have their Diangana successor right under their nose – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

Grady Diangana has been a revelation in the Midlands this season.

Signed on loan from West Ham, he’s been a breath of fresh air and provided the Baggies with some much-needed impetus in the final third.

In 2019/20, the winger has registered four goals and three assists, quickly cementing himself as someone the fans would love to stay.

But things may not be simple. Those at Albion will be all too aware of what happened in January 2019. Harvey Barney was recalled by Leicester and perhaps with it went West Brom’s promotion hopes.

The youngster had proven crucial during his loan spell and bagged nine times in the first half of the campaign. However, a similar situation could repeat itself with Diangana in January considering the Hammers have a recall clause in his contract.

Whether or not they decide to bring him back to the London Stadium remains to be seen but if there are fears over his immediate future at the Baggies, it would be understandable.

News emerged this week that senior officials at the club were making moves to tie down Matheus Pereira to a permanent deal but the same is reportedly in the pipeline for Chris Willock.

The former Arsenal academy product is yet to feature for West Brom’s senior side, something that’s rather bizarre considering he only arrived on deadline day on a temporary basis.

But Luke Dowling and co would be extremely diligent in making the 21-year-old a permanent part of the furniture.

Willock is yet to really establish himself at any club he’s been at, failing to play for Benfica’s senior side and then also being left out on his return to England.

But if the club’s hierarchy does bring him in permanently, it would show an acknowledgement of the fact they probably would need a replacement for Diangana – whether that be in January or once his spell ends officially next summer.

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After all, without him, they’d only really have Kyle Edwards as a direct replacement.

Willock has been in pretty destructive form at Premier League 2 level too, scoring twice and claiming two assists in just four appearances.

That indicates he may be a class above youth level and thus, a first-team chance is necessary.

Should Willock be signed permanently?





Blessed with the ability to score, create and play on the left, he lines up as a pretty direct substitute for Diangana.

Slaven Bilic’s neglect of the youngster has been puzzling despite their league position but a permanent transfer certainly makes sense.

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