West Bromwich Albion suffered relegation to the Championship last season after eight consecutive seasons in the top-flight but, with Jay Rodriguez and Newcastle United loanee Dwight Gayle spearheading the attack, they have a fantastic opportunity to secure an instant return.
The deal which saw West Brom and Newcastle swap Salomon Rondon and Dwight Gayle was one which evoked plenty of interest in the British media. After all, Rondon hardly represented much of an upgrade on Gayle, on paper at least.
But the two clubs agreed to the deal and Gayle wasted no time in making his mark at the Hawthorns by notching 8 goals from his opening 11 Championship appearances, whilst Rondon is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League.
Gayle’s form in itself should be more than enough for Moore to justify the decision to swap him for Rondon in the summer, but Rondon’s form will also be a point of interest for the supporters when they assess the merits of the deal.
Rondon cost West Brom £12 million in August 2014 and he has managed to score 24 goals from 112 Premier League appearances since arriving in England. Comparatively, Gayle has scored 21 from 99 top-flight appearances.
Clearly, there is very little to chose between the two in terms of their potency in-front of goal, but Gayle’s proven record in the Championship suggested that he was the best man to lead the line at West Brom this season – and that notion has rung true so far.
On the other hand, the Venezuela international is back in the top-flight where he will feel he belongs, but another season of struggle in front of goals looks likely on the basis of his goalless opening and Newcastle’s distinct lack of creativity.
At the end of the season both Newcastle and West Brom will look back on their swap deal and assess whether they made the right call, and it’s fair to say Rondon’s struggle to hit the ground running combined with Gayle’s electric start would hint that it’s the Baggies who have made the right call.
With Joselu representing the only major threat to a place in Benitez’s starting eleven Rondon should have plenty of opportunities to prove his sceptics wrong, but three years of Premier League experience suggests that he is not the man to fire Newcastle to safety.
West Brom and Newcastle fans – thoughts? Let us know below!