Express & Star

Overseas links provide optimism on West Brom scouting department

Albion were linked with an ambitious move for France-based defender Moussa Diarra this week.


It’s a swoop that feels like a long-shot, certainly given the Toulouse centre-back, 23, who is out of contract, is also interesting big-hitters in his homeland like Marseille and Nice, among others, writes Lewis Cox.

Norwich were also tipped with interest. It’s far from a given, but the profile of the target should send optimism through the Baggies’ fanbase.

The defender made his senior bow for the French side as a teenager four years ago but didn’t emerge as more of a regular in the side until the 2022/23 campaign.

Diarra, who is a three-cap Mali international and featured in the African Cup of Nations this year, is not the first European-based player – and defender – linked with interest from Carlos Corberan this summer.

Another is Swedish stopper Eric Smith, 27, who won the German second tier title with St. Pauli.

The upshot to these rumours, at least, is Albion casting their net further afield. It would be easier, perhaps, but not necessary cheaper to look closer to home in England.

It is nothing entirely new even for the last few, more difficult, years. Last summer’s major and sole permanent recruit, striker Josh Maja, came from the French second tier and Bordeaux. Admittedly, Maja was a name in English football due to his upbringing and time at Fulham and Sunderland, but it was still example of Albion keeping tabs on foreign markets.

Pipa, too, the Spanish full-back who came in on loan from Bulgarian football, brought with him a mystique, albeit one Corberan was fully aware of from the pair’s spell at Huddersfield.

Maja endured a nightmarish debut campaign, little of that being his fault, with two terrible injuries. He still has it all to prove. Pipa, by contrast, was barely selected in favour of Darnell Furlong.

Fans have craved some imaginative, outside-the-box recruitment for a few years now. These are encouraging signs.

Owner Shilen Patel was forthright in Albion’s possibilities for the summer in his recent letter to the fanbase, which stated the club will have to be prudent in their operation in the short-term future.

But, in an ideal world, prudent and resourceful can still equal imaginative as Albion scour affordable options oversees.