West Brom have had a fairly decent start to the Championship campaign and are just a point behind Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Sheffield United who are all on 22 points. Immediate promotion is the target, and the club might have taken a big step towards that.
The club have confirmed the signing of Bakary Sako on a free transfer. Sako was a free agent after being released by Crystal Palace this past summer and he’ll add more depth to the midfield and attack considering his versatility.
Bakary Sako – Fact file
Sako managed just four starts for West Brom last season as a combination of injuries and form meant he was never the first choice. He still managed to score three goals in those games and did offer them the spark they missed when Zaha wasn’t present.
The Malian spent three seasons at West Brom, but his career didn’t take off due to frequent injuries. Despite just four starts and 12 substitute appearances last season, the three goals he managed was his best return for Palace in a single season.
What will Sako add to West Brom?
Still only 30, Sako still has a lot of time on his side to play in the competitive Championship. He also has previous experience of playing in the Championship with Wolves, so he doesn’t need all that long to get used to the pace of the game. He managed impressive numbers at Wolves as he scored 15 goals in the 2014-15 season.
West Brom have a pretty good squad to vie for the top two spots, but Sako’s arrival will allow manager Darren Moore to change his system more often. In the last few games, we’ve seen the gaffer go with a 3-4-1-2 setup which has brought out the best of Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez.
When the games start coming thick and fast, however, the manager will have to rotate the players, and that is where Sako can be handy. Sako could be a key player when used in a 4-2-3-1 or the 4-4-2 setup that Moore earlier utilised.
The Malian has a good burst of pace and is hard to stop when he is driving forward, so he can stretch defences. Sako does have the ability to hold up the play as well, owing to his physique and technique on the ball, so he can be used up front as well.
Stats via Whoscored