West Bromwich Albion were heavily linked across the summer with Reading striker Lucas Joao, and the Portuguese star could have represented an important coup given their reliance on Karlan Grant to score all the goals.
Reports late in the window suggested the Baggies had made a move to sign the Royals marksman, but that seemed to fall through and Steve Bruce was left scrambling to sign Salford City striker Brandon Thomas-Asante last minute.
Had he managed to sign Joao instead however, despite the latter’s fine start to life at the Hawthorns, perhaps his side would not be in as much peril as they currently are.
Should West Brom have signed Lucas Joao?
West Brom sit in 20th, with just one win from nine Championship games. This marks abysmal form for a side that had dreams of a promotion push. Things are yet to get easier too, as tomorrow they travel to second-placed Norwich City.
A big issue with their season has been their toothless nature. This was foreseen after their January signing Daryl Dike was ruled out until after the World Cup.
He was not replaced in the summer, and now Bruce’s side have scored 14 goals in nine appearances. However, five of those goals came in one game against Hull City, which papers over the cracks somewhat.
Joao already has three goals this season in just six appearances, including a match-winning brace in his side’s 2-1 win over Stoke City.
He has proven his credentials as a match winner, something which West Brom are clearly lacking.
Grant also has three league goals, but in nine matches instead. To add competition for his place would surely have forced better performances out of the 24-year-old, and if not then the lethal Joao could have taken his place.
In fact, he has been a consistent Championship goal scorer all across his 213 appearances. He has scored 67 times and chipped in with a further 27 assists.
With Paul Ince having labelled the 29-year-old a “great finisher”, it somewhat mocks the Baggies as that is exactly what they need. Against Birmingham City, they had 66% possession and 18 shots, yet still ran out 3-2 losers.
Joao is exactly the type of player they needed, but they let him get away and are paying the price because of it.