• All quiet on the striker front for Albion

    The obvious gaps in Albion's squad are slowly filling up, with Joe Bennett's arrival finally resolving the left-back conundrum that has been puzzling the club since Stephen Ward returned to Wolves at the end of his successful loan period in May.

    Danny Holla's performance in Albion's comfortable 2-0 defeat of Leeds in mid-week suggested Albion's midfield could now be complete, not least because his very presence seemed to bring the best out of both Jake Forster-Caskey and the enigmatic Kemy Agustien, both of whom had struggled to impress in earlier fixtures.

    Amidst the excitement of an unexpectedly dominant performance at Elland Road and the arrivals of Danny Holla and Joe Bennett, Paddy McCourt must feel like the forgotten man of the squad. His signing was announced simultaneously with the production of Albion's team sheet on Tuesday night, which included him amongst the substitutes. On his day McCourt can dazzle with the ball and will be a useful creative option for Sami Hyypia to call upon, particularly at the Amex where teams often arrive with no ambitions beyond securing a point. McCourt also has the potential to lift the home crowd in the same way Craig Noone, now of Cardiff, was able to do.

    The Albion are also expected to bring in one or two new strikers to provide competition for the mis-firing Craig Mackail-Smith and Chris O'Grady. The only striker the Albion have been linked with during this transfer window is Bristol City's Sam Baldock. With only this season left on his existing contract, Baldock is a good fit for what seems to be Albion's "sell him or lose him" strategy. With limited time remaining with a club, the decision is whether to cash in or run the risk of the player walking away for nothing at the end of the term. The Albion themselves were faced with the same dilemma with Ashley Barnes back in January.

    As the end of August approaches it becomes decision time for clubs. Bluffing and double-bluffing become more difficult. The 4m price tag put on Baldock's head is clearly ridiculous and any sale of Baldock will be conducted at a more modest valuation.

    Today's news that Bristol City have agreed a price with Rotherham for Kieran Agard could be the deal required that releases Baldock for a move away from Ashton Gate. Agard earlier looked set for a move to Leeds, but that collapsed. The 24-year old scored 26 goals in Rotherham's promotion season, and Albion fans may be wondering if he is an option that the Seagulls might have considered.

    Baldock rose to prominence with MK Dons, attracting the attentions of bigger clubs. West Ham came calling and Baldock made the switch to the higher level. Early on at the Hammers he scored 5 goals in six Championship starts before a barren spell struck and he was moved on to Bristol City. He was the top scorer in League One in the last campaign, with his goals being key to City's eventual survival.

    The club may also look to raid the European market in search for a hidden gem in the mold of Leonardo Ulloa, who has departed for Leicester. There is a gamble in bringing a player into English football, but as the Albion found out with the Argentinian, there are rich pickings to be had.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Papa Lazarou's Avatar
      Papa Lazarou -
      Yet another good article.
    1. Gully Forever's Avatar
      Gully Forever -
      Crikey!. He was moved on because his form dipped, (most likely because of his long term injury!.).
      Good thing Brighton don't do that, Otherwise CMS would of been shipped out by now!.
    1. Lawson's Avatar
      Lawson -
      another great summary of our current situation, thanks for taking the time to write these.
    1. Dick Knights Mumm's Avatar
      Dick Knights Mumm -
      I do not really understand the move for Baldock. I assume he will be relatively low cost - but there is not a lot of evidence that he will cut it in the championship. I say this in the knowledge the club will have seen a lot more of him than me.
    1. basque seagull's Avatar
      basque seagull -
      Good article!
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