Late last week, we covered a story from Football365, who claimed that West Brom were one of three Premier League teams keeping an eye on Montpellier’s Steve Mounié.
The Benin international has been in very good form since returning from his loan at Nîmes last season, and leads the club’s goalscoring chart with 13 strikes in 28 league appearances this season.
In our coverage of the article on Friday, we briefly looked at why West Brom would be interested in the 22-year-old, and bottom line is: the Baggies need a striker.
Not only is that his favoured position on the pitch, but Mounié also has ideal attributes for Tony Pulis, who likes a bit of height in his teams.
At around 6’3”, the Montpellier striker is actually taller than West Brom’s current option up front, Salomon Rondon, and would offer the Venezuelan some respite when needed, giving the manager an option to rotate, which hasn’t really been available this season.
Rondon has only scored seven goals in the league so far this campaign, and the Baggies have had to rely on the likes of Gareth McAuley and James Morrison for goals.
Hal Robson-Kanu hasn’t exactly set the league alight when called upon either, and something extra is clearly needed at the Hawthorns, which is where Mounié comes in.
As established above, height is one of his top attributes (he has won more headers (8.7/game) than anyone else in the league), and his latest goal, a strong header against Nantes, shows how difficult he is to defend against as he jostles through a few defenders to head home Ryad Boudebouz’s floating free-kick into the back of the net.
That isn’t all he’s capable of, however.
The 22-year-old also has an impressive knack of just being there for the ball to fall at his feet, as exemplified by his recent goals against Nice and Saint-Etienne, which is something West Brom really could have done with in the box this season.
Furthermore, for a 6’3” striker, Mounié isn’t slow.
Back in November, Montpellier managed an impressive 3-1 victory over Marseille, and with the score at 2-1, it was the Benin international who put the final nail in the coffin for the 1993 Champions League winners.
Put through down the right-hand side, Morgan Sanson, who was bought by Marseille a couple of months later, had very little to aim for in the box.
Seeing this, Mounié ran half the length of the pitch, sprinting past Doria, who is no slouch for a defender, and got on the end of a very tidy cross, putting the ball past Yohan Pelé.
Many have compared the Montpellier striker to another success story hailing from the Ligue 1 club: Olivier Giroud.
The Arsenal striker is the last player to have scored more than 15 league goals for the club, and with Mounié well on course to do just that this season, on top of the similarities in their gameplay, the comparisons are fair.
Montpellier have hugely benefitted from Mounié’s emergence this season, but if the club’s past is anything to go by, if the right offer comes along, they will be forced to sell.
Take Morgan Sanson for example: he was one of their best players this season, yet when Marseille came along with a £7.5m bid in January, they couldn’t say no.
The most the club has ever received for a player is £10.2m for Olivier Giroud, and with Mounié yet to reach those levels, he would probably go for cheaper.
If West Brom do buy him, Mounié wouldn’t be a starter at first, but with time on his side, and players like Rondon and Chadli around him, he certainly has the potential to be an ideal addition to Tony Pulis’ side.