This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

With West Brom leading the Championship heading into the international break, the spotlight will quite rightly be on them – will they keep it up going into the festive period, or will they falter?

Their fate may well be out of their control, especially if they continue to dazzle on the pitch – as weird as that sounds.

Grady Diangana has been an integral part of the exciting, pacy, and possession-based brand of football that manager Slaven Bilic wants to play.

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The winger has scored four goals while laying on three assists in just six starts so far this campaign, per WhoScored. On two occasions his impact has practically won Albion the game – think of Luton away and more recently against Huddersfield.

He is currently the joint-top goalscorer amongst the squad, but given he is only on loan, a huge problem may arise come January.

The 21-year-old’s rich vein of form could result in his parent club, West Ham, wanting him to contribute to their Premier League exploits this season – that has to be the reason why they installed a recall clause as part of the deal.

If that did happen, it would be an absolutely killer blow to their title hopes considering the impact Diangana has had already in just six starts.

Young Kyle Edwards would have to step up as fellow Albion winger Oliver Burke was sent out on loan while Chris Willock seems to only be an option for the U23 squad as he is yet to feature in the league despite joining from Benfica for a temporary stint of his own.

Edwards has scored just one goal in ten appearances, so there’s nothing to suggest he could fill Diangana’s void.

It would likely also cause unrest amongst the Hawthorns faithful considering a year ago the very same thing happened with Harvey Barnes.

The Leicester City ace scored nine goals and provided six assists in 26 appearances, per WhoScored, before the Foxes recalled him to feature for the senior side.

Ultimately, the point of these loan deals has paid off, but it does still leave West Brom hanging in the mire.

Who should play upfront?

Zohore

Zohore

Austin

Austin

HRK

HRK

With sporting and technical director Luke Dowling putting a two-year timeframe on the club returning to the top-flight, losing Diangana would only put a dent on such hopes.

Whether the Baggies would have gained promotion with Barnes still at the club post-January remains to be seen, but you’d imagine he would have undoubtedly helped their cause.


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Lewis Blain