This article forms part of our Total Duds feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how bad a deal the club got.
Dwight Gayle proved a superb loan acquisition for West Brom last season, netting 24 times for the Baggies during his one-year spell away from Newcastle and being voted as the Supporters’ Player of the Season. After he returned to his parent club last summer, he left a major void to be filled in attack.
West Brom’s attempts to fill that void saw them spend £8m on Kenneth Zohore, who had been relegated to the Championship with Cardiff after scoring just once in their 2018/19 Premier League campaign. That fee made him the Baggies’ most expensive acquisition since their own relegation from the top flight a year earlier, a significant show of faith in a player who had been given a tough act to follow.
The early signs suggested that Slaven Bilic knew what he was doing in bringing the Danish striker to the club. His first goal came in the 1-1 draw at home to Reading in August when he made a telling impact off the bench and, three days later, he was restored to the starting line-up and scored another late penalty to earn a point away to Derby.
If West Brom fans hoped that those two valuable goals would help Zohore to settle in at The Hawthorns, they would quickly be disappointed. While fellow strikers Hal Robson-Kanu and Charlie Austin kept a steady supply of goals flowing, the 26-year-old found it hard to get his place in the team and failed to make the most of the substitute appearances he was given.
A further setback came in the form of a calf injury in the autumn and a two-goal showing in an under-23 game in late October didn’t signal a triumphant return to the first team as he continued to struggle for minutes and goals. His performance against Barnsley on Boxing Day, when he touched the ball only seven times during his 30 minutes on the pitch, was savaged by some West Brom fans on Twitter.
Two goals in a week against Charlton in early January, in two different competitions, again offered hope that Zohore would catch fire but again proved to be nothing more than a false dawn. He was pilloried by many Baggies fans after an ineffective display against Stoke and hasn’t played in the Championship since the defeat to former club Cardiff at the end of January.
While the Dane has been unlucky with injuries, a return of five goals in all competitions following an £8m investment represents an underachievement from the 26-year-old. If West Brom are to be promoted to the Premier League in the coming weeks, the striker could face a huge challenge in trying to prove his worth to Bilic at that level given his struggles in the second tier this season.
West Brom fans, have you been disappointed with Zohore’s contribution since his £8m move last summer? Can you see him turning it around at The Hawthorns? Comment below with your views!
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