West Brom comment: Why the Baggies are hoping the Hammers hit form
There have been rumours circulating for quite a while.
But yesterday it was reported in the national press that West Ham are considering recalling Grady Diangana from his loan at Albion in January.
It is the word ‘considering’ that was the most important in those reports, however. And the truth is as it stands today – on November 7 – nobody knows where the winger will be playing his football at the turn of the year.
Is Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini considering taking the 21-year-old back to London?
The answer, very simply, is yes.
But is he also contemplating letting him stay at The Hawthorns so he can continue his development by playing first-team football every week?
Again, the answer is a simple, yes.
There are many factors that are going to decide whether Diangana gets recalled to the capital or not.
And they are all going to play out over the next six to seven weeks.
As a starting point, it is important to remember when it comes to Diangana that this is a player West Ham were very keen to send out on a season-long loan back in the summer.
The England under-21 international was heading to Derby on a temporary basis until Slaven Bilic made a last minute phone call to his former employers.
Diangana, in West Ham’s view, is looked upon in a similar way Albion view Jonathan Leko and Sam Field.
They want him playing every week.
They also want him to get used to being someone everyone looks at to make something happen – to be able to carry the expectation that is placed on the shoulders of all attacking players.
And the truth is his loan at The Hawthorns couldn’t be going any better.
Diangana has four goals and four assists already this season.
He has also become an integral part of Bilic’s side. But the main reason West Ham are considering recalling him is because their forwards are yet to catch fire.
Michail Antonio is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.
While, £36 million man Felipe Anderson has struggled for form.
The Brazilian netted 10 goals from the left-wing last season. But he is yet to get off the mark this year. And that has led to West Ham experimenting with striker Pablo Fornals and right-winger Andrii Yarmolenko on the left at times.
It’s not ideal and results have not been good – with the Hammers without a win in their last six. But if Anderson can rediscover his scoring touch, the Brazilian will be first choce on the left flank.
And with Antonio set to return from his injury in the new year, Pellegrini doesn’t want to recall Diangana and have him potentially being third choice.
There is simply no point – especially when Diangana is making rapid progress with the Baggies.
At the start of the campaign there were times he found himself on the bench. But he has knuckled down to now be one of Bilic’s main men.
West Ham don’t want to slow that progress down.
And while Harvey Barnes was recalled by Leicester last season and is now doing well at The King Power Stadium, the Hammers will also be looking at Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori as case studies.
Both those players spent all of last season in the Championship with Derby.
And now both are thriving at Stamford Bridge and were recently called up by Gareth Southgate for England.
Of course, if West Ham don’t start picking up results, Diangana is an option they will have to explore.
But it is events over the next few weeks that will ultimately make Pellegrini’s mind up for him.
So for the next few months at least, the Hammers need to be every Albion fans second favourite team.