West Bromwich Albion have picked up three wins from their last five Championship matches which has ensured the Baggies’ grip on a playoff spot has remained firm, but Carlos Corberan will still want to add signings to his squad this month regardless.
With Grady Diangana and Semi Ajayi both still out at the African Cup of Nations, alongside an extensive injury list at the Hawthorns continuing to trouble the Spaniard, this January transfer window will see West Brom be presumably very active to strengthen and add needed depth.
Despite Brandon Thomas-Asante now boasting double figures up top for the Baggies in all competitions, the rumour mill coming out of the Hawthorns suggests Corberan is targeting a new striker recruit.
West Brom’s striker search
With West Brom nearly there with a deal for former Aston Villa attacker Andreas Weimann to join the club, the West Midlands outfit have also now thrown their hat into the ring to sign raw Leeds United striker Joe Gelhardt according to further reports.
Football journalist Alan Nixon, via his Patreon, confirmed that the Baggies are keen on signing the fringe Whites figure this January on a loan deal.
But, interest from the likes of Rangers and Celtic in Scotland alongside fellow second-tier side Plymouth Argyle means the deal won’t be a walk in the park to finalise.
With Corberan previously being assistant manager to Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds, the iconic Argentinian manager really taking a shine to Gelhardt whilst in the Whites dug-out, the West Brom boss will hope a transfer is forthcoming due to these previous loyalties.
Moreover, with West Brom succeeding of late playing young and hungry talents such as Tom Fellows from the get-go, the West Midlands club could well help Gelhardt find his shooting boots again after suffering setbacks in his progression at Elland Road recently.
How Gelhardt fits into the West Brom team
Not guaranteed to be a starter outright relocating to the Hawthorns – Thomas-Asante coming into his own over the past few Championship games – Corberan could well utilise Gelhardt as a dangerous impact substitute on his arrival.
The 21-year-old has excelled playing that role for the Whites in the past, bagging two goals during the 2021-22 Premier League season for Leeds despite only averaging 37 minutes on the pitch per game that campaign.
Likewise, as Thomas-Asante is prone to barren patches of form in front of goal with the Baggies striker not scoring a single strike last year in November, the Leeds number 30 would be a perfect waiting-in-the-wings style buy.
Gelhardt’s breakthrough time at Leeds during that top-flight season left a lasting impression on Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, with Redknapp stating that the aggressive forward was a ‘human wrecking ball’ for this team with his pace and tenacity receiving further glowing praise.
Yet, with his minutes significantly cut by Daniel Farke in West Yorkshire this season, Gelhardt is now eyeing a move away from the Championship giants in the present day.
Fellows would surely love to play alongside the 21-year-old, the Baggies potentially catching teams off-guard with youthful exuberance away from the run-of-the-mill efforts of John Swift and Jed Wallace.
Scoring in back-to-back games in the senior set-up for West Brom has seen Fellows even be touted for a move up a division, Everton even reportedly interested, but the explosive 20-year-old could stay put knowing he has an equally offensive-minded teammate alongside him joining.
Fellows helped himself to 14 assists for the Baggies playing in various different set-ups at youth level, and with Gelhardt equally starring at Leeds as a promising youngster with 20 goals in total for the U21s, this injection of youth could be crucial for West Brom as they aim to catch teams by surprise as an under-the-radar promotion candidate.