When the transfer window closed on August 31, West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis had reason to throw his baseball cap in the air in delight.
The Baggies made a slew of impressive signings throughout the summer, including Kieran Gibbs, Jay Rodriguez, Oliver Burke and Gareth Barry, while capturing Poland international Grzegorz Krychowiak was hailed as a particularly eye-catching coup.
On top of that, West Brom managed to retain the services of Manchester City and Leicester City transfer target Jonny Evans, whose future at the Hawthorns looked deeply uncertain once Pep Guardiola was named as a keen admirer.
On the surface, it looked like a successful window. However, 11 games into the new season has called for some revisionism, with the key takeaway being that Pulis should have signed another striker.
West Brom have Rodriguez, Hal Robson-Kanu and Salomón Rondón in attack, but they have managed just four goals between them this season and the goals department looks like being the main area in which Pulis will aim to strengthen in January.
Here are five strikers West Brom need to target in January.
Recent reports have suggested that Pulis is interested in Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Hooper. The former Norwich City and Celtic marksman has caught the eye with his impressive form for the Owls in the Championship this season, scoring seven goals in 15 starts.
“We were desperate to bring a number nine in and that’s the position we never managed to fill,” Pulis said when admitting that he was frustrated at a failure not to secure the signing of another striker in the summer.
Hooper is a physical, clinical striker who is excellent at holding up play, and averages 0.9 key passes per game. The 29-year-old represents an affordable, dependable option for Pulic.
Loved at Watford, Troy Deeney has found himself down the pecking order at Vicarage Road recently following the arrival of Andre Gray.
However, the 29-year-old’s introduction against Arsenal changed the game, unnerving the Gunners defenders with his physical, aggressive style.
He also scored the equalising penalty.
Although Hornets boss Marco Silva may prefer to use Deeney as an impact sub, the striker may feel as though regular starting opportunities should still be coming his way while he’s on the right side of 30.
Deeney is inextricably linked to Watford’s recent history: he is the club captain and led the team to Premier League promotion in 2015.
With that in mind, he may not come easily but, if Pulis can convince the former Walsall forward that there are more opportunities at the Hawthorns, he may feel as though it’s time to for a new challenge.
It’s possible that Daniel Sturridge, who is now 28-years-old, will leave Liverpool in search of regular first-team football in January and the Hawthorns could be the right environment for his reinvention.
When fit and playing regularly, Sturridge has proven that he can be lethal in attack and, with his pace and trickery, he would certainly offer a different dynamic to what West Brom currently have.
The former Chelsea striker doesn’t appear to figure prominently in Jürgen Klopp’s plans at Anfield and Pulis, renowned for his astute man-management skills, could be the man to breathe new life into the forward.
Partnering the pace and mobility of Sturridge with the power of Rondón in attack could well prove to be a devastating partnership for Pulis.
Last summer, West Brom were poised to complete a club-record £15million deal for West Ham United’s Diafra Sakho, but the deal collapsed because of the player’s physical condition.
Indeed, the Senegalese striker has had his fair share of injury woes, with adductor strains, hamstring tweaks and back complaints plaguing his last two years in the Premier League.
However, the 27-year-old is currently fit and recently scored a 90th-minute winner for the Hammers against Swansea City.
And if he maintains his fitness, the Baggies may well go back in for him in January knowing the threat he can provide.
Considering his lack of game time over the last season, the Hammers may not be able to demand the same fee.
In his first season in England, Sakho scored 12 goals in 26 appearances, so he is clearly a significant goal threat when he gets games under his belt.
His track-record with injuries will always place a high-risk in any potential deal for him, though.
The Derby County forward has been in excellent form this season and, although his last venture in the Premier League didn’t quite work out for him with Watford, he has developed greatly as a player.
Still only 25-years-old, the Czech Republic international already has six goals to his name for the Rams this season and also has two assists. His technique and creativity are a real driving force for Derby and Pulis may feel as though his talents could be applied to this Baggies side, who lack incisive passing in the final third.
Matêj Vydra had a fruitless loan spell at West Brom during the 2013/14 season, which only produced three goals in 23 appearances (16 of which were from the bench). Four years on, Vydra is a vastly-improved and more rounded attacking player and would certainly offer Pulis much more than he did for Steve Clarke and Pepe Mel.