West Bromwich Albion only made on piece of business during the January transfer window bringing in French under 21 striker Thievy Bifouma on loan with a view to permanent transfer from Espanyol. But what kind of impact can he have at the club and can he save Albion’s season?
The winger come striker possess an unbelievable amount of pace. He can glide past defenders with or without the ball creating space and chances for himself. His pace offers something no one else has in the West Brom side and something most Premier League defenders will be scared of.
To go with his pace he owns a terrific left foot. When he gets himself into these advanced positions he has the ability to make something happen, whether that is laying on the ball to a team mate with a cross or through ball, or having a strike on goal. His left foot has a lot of power behind it and the Baggies faithful will be hoping he can thunderbolt some shots past opposition goalkeepers.
Head Coach Pepe Mel has likened Thievy to former Manchester City and AC Milan star Mario Balotelli. For all the talent the Italian has this is not necessarily a good thing.
Gerard Deulofeu, Giovanni Dos Santos and Isaac Cuenca graced the pitch when a then 19 year old Thievy stole the show with a hat trick for Espanyol in the Catalan Cup final. The coaching staff thought they had unearthed a gem of a player but since then discipline issues have become a problem.
After impressing on loan at Las Palmas where he scored 11 goals and created 8, he was rewarded with a new deal at Espanyol, running through till 2017 but off the field problems forced him out on loan to West Brom. He failed to show up to training four times before he was shown the door, as he was clearly unsettled.
However Mel was determined to sign the player, which should give the young striker confidence. He will feel wanted again and after the impact he made against Crystal Palace the fans will be right behind him.
Thievy is the type of player that will fit directly into Mel’s style of play as he favours the attacking side of the game. The appointment of David Gomez should also help with the settling in period as they both came from the Spanish game. With their encouragement they should be able to get the Balotelli esque skill set out of the young Frenchman.
The West Brom fans may not have got the signings they have wanted but if Mel and his backroom staff can get the best out of Thievy they will always have a chance of staying up. It may be an unpopular opinion but Chairman Jeremey Peace and sporting director Richard Garlick could have pulled of a major coup in the transfer window. Their new player has the potential to steal the show for Albion as they look to pull of another escape.