Express & Star

Slaven Bilic hopeful West Brom closing in on striker

Slaven Bilic is hopeful Albion will soon bring in a striker – as the Baggies continue to negotiate a deal with Huddersfield for Karlan Grant.

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West Bromwich Albion manager Slaven Bilic on the touchline during the Carabao Cup second round match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 16, 2020. See PA story SOCCER West Brom. Photo credit should read: Andrew Couldridge/NMC Pool/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications..

A new centre-forward has been top of Albion’s shopping list all summer, with the Express & Star understanding Grant is Bilic’s number one target.

With money tight at The Hawthorns, the Baggies are trying to bring in a goalscorer who will initially arrive on loan for a substantial loan fee.

The deal will then become permanent if Albion are successful in their battle to stay in the Premier League – with the loan fee then forming part of the overall transfer fee.

It is understood Huddersfield want between £16million and £18million for Grant.

But the two clubs have held talks over a deal that would see Albion pay a £5million loan fee and then £13million next summer if they retain their top flight status.

Just a week ago, the Terriers were demanding more money up front for Grant who scored 19 goals for them last season.

But all football clubs were dealt a hammer blow this week when the government announced its plan to allow supporters back into stadiums in October had been placed on hold – potentially for six months.

Clubs throughout the country had budgeted to have some revenue from gate receipts this year.

Now, though, they are having to adjust their finances accordingly with the immediate £5million Albion are offering Huddersfield suddenly much more appealing.

Bilic was asked whether there had been any movement with a deal for Grant after Albion’s 3-3 draw with Chelsea on Saturday.

He said: “I can only hope at this moment – I think something will happen because we needed it.

“I’ve said it from the beginning, I keep saying that and I hope the owners will recognise the situation – even after the Chelsea game – and try to strengthen our team.”

Bilic was also asked whether he felt the performance against Chelsea would make it easier to sign players – with Albion showing they are in with a fighting chance of staying up this year.

But the boss said the club has always been an attractive proposition for players, it’s just the budget that has made bringing them in difficult.

“Make no mistake - we do not have a problem attracting players,” he said.

“There are a lot of players who would love to join.

“The problem is the budget.

“Hopefully there will be some movement. A lot of deals will happen in the last week or two.

“Hopefully, we are going to do something.”