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Kenneth Zohore: The expert take on West Brom's new striker

By Luke Hatfield | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

West Brom have signed their new striker in Kenneth Zohore - get the inside track on the forward here.

We spoke with Ian Mitchelmore, football writer for WalesOnline, to get an expert opinion on the Dane and what he could bring to West Brom.

See what he had to say here...

What sort of player are Albion getting in Kenneth Zohore?

He's got pace, he's quite powerful, he's a strong player as well. The raw qualities are all there but perhaps the only concern, and it's probably been a factor in Cardiff letting him go, is that he's inconsistent in terms of his goal scoring.

Cardiff didn't always play to his strengths under Neil Warnock, whereas under Slaven Bilic I imagine the style that he'll play will suit him more, especially if you've got someone playing off him or even is he's in a 4-4-2 which might be the case there.

In that sense I think that would be encouraging for him. Obviously, he didn't get that at Cardiff, so it was probably a big factor in him not scoring as many goals as people thought he could have done.

What would you say his strengths and weaknesses are?

This could count for both, his work rate.

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Looking back at the game when they beat Manchester United on the last game of last season at Old Trafford, they were already down at this point, he was excellent up-front in a front four.

He was the spearhead of a diamond and his work rate was outstanding, his link up play was really good.

In the season when they got promoted with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing on one wing and Junior Hoilett on the other, his link up play was excellent with them.

But on the flip-side his work rate has been questioned a lot as well. I wouldn't say it's when it suits him, but he's had a few fitness problems as well and Warnock's openly criticised his attitude in training earlier on in his career when he joined Cardiff.

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Obviously there's been a few concerns there, and in fairness Neil Warnock's a very good judge of character and he quickly roots out the people he doesn't feel are suited to his squad.

Kenneth Zohore | Every Goal for Cardiff City

But he's persisted with Zohore ever since he's been at Cardiff, he's been here nearly three years now and he's stuck by him and I think it might have just got to a point with his contract situation, and let's be honest £8m for a man who scored one goal all last season as well, it's probably good business for Cardiff.

There must be something there though because he's persisted with him for so long, whereas others he got rid of pretty quickly.

I think it was just the right time for Cardiff and it could be the right time for Zohore as well because I think we saw what West Brom did last season. Of course, with the change of manager again, who knows how that will work out, but it could be a fresh start for him at West Brom.

Obviously he was a key player during Cardiff's promotion season, why didn't things work in the Premier League?

It's interesting because he started the season as the number one striker, as he has been for pretty much the bulk of Warnock's tenure at Cardiff, even in the Championship season when they went up, even though he only scored nine goals.

In the Premier League, Zohore did start the season as the first choice - then Callum Paterson, who initially signed as a right back, ended up leading the line for them. I remember he played in a 4-1 defeat at Anfield and people were asking questions. Credit to Paterson, he did a good job leading the line, but it just shows you how desperately poor of options they were up front. When Zohore wasn't fit and firing then there was no other option but a man signed as right back up front instead of him for the bulk of the season.

I suppose in defence of him, he did have a few injury problems which didn't help.

But he scored that goal at Southampton in January when they won there. That was a big moment, obviously Emiliano Sala had died only a week or two before then and emotions were running very high at the club.

For him to get that goal in such a significant win, I think people thought that was going to be the moment when we saw a bit of a resurgence and maybe see them stay up and he himself going on a goal scoring run, but it never happened.

He was in and out of the team again after that and it just led to where we are now.

I think it's been a combination of factors, but largely I just don't think he's been scoring enough goals to warrant a regular place in the team.

Kenneth Zohore (AMA/Sam Bagnall)

Do you think the reported fee of around £8m is a good deal or is it a bit of a risk?

On him I'd say there's 100% a risk, but what signing isn't risk-free?

I think that's why, from Cardiff's perspective it does make sense to get rid now, especially with his contract situation.

But I suppose Cardiff didn't really play to his strengths, where I feel West Brom are more likely to.

With the players that are around in there, especially in midfield and further behind, I wouldn't say he'll be a focal point for West Brom but he's got potential to be that. And we know what Slaven Bilic is like in terms of work rate, it's an important thing for him so if he doesn't see that on the training ground then you're not going to be in that team.

It's going to be something for him to do to really try and impress Bilic, if he can he could well be a success if he takes on those ideas from him.

What's his injury record like, is this a player we can expect to play week in, week out in the Championship or is he likely to miss games with injuries?

He's had quite a lot of problems.

In the year they went up, he started the season and got the winner at Burton on the opening day and there were really high hopes for him.

But then he had a spell out for a good month or so and then came back and had a good game against Leeds at home, when they won 3-1 - he scored in that one as well and he was excellent that night.

It's just fits and starts, he scores in little patches then he'd have little niggles here and there.

Warnock himself said, even when he did get back to fitness in the season before, he wasn't training well enough and he wasn't seeing enough from him in training. So there were fitness issues there as well and if you're questioning his work rate then there's got to be a few alarm bells ringing.

He has been a bit unfortunate in terms of that we've seen glimpses that he can be a really good striker, especially at the Championship level, but we just haven't seen it regularly enough.

Do you think he could be the man to front a promotion charge with Albion this season?

I actually do. Before the year Cardiff went up, there were links with him going to Brighton for around £15m, Cardiff rejected those advances from them.

The consensus was that if he had gone that summer, there wasn't a hope in hell that Cardiff would've gained promotion. Obviously, in the end they kept hold of him and did get promoted.

As I said, he only scored nine goals or so but for Cardiff he was very much the main man and there weren't many other options.

But with West Brom, with the squad and the players around him and with that manager as well I do feel he has a better chance at being a man who can actually be, not the talisman because the squad is packed with talent, but certainly a massive player who's impact could be key if they are to be in that top two or top six bracket.

You can keep track of Ian's work by following him on Twitter here.

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield
Digital Sports Journalist - @LHatfield_Star

Digital Sports Journalist based in Wolverhampton working on the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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