Albion showed a sign of intent with the early addition of Daryl Dike in January 2022 on a permanent deal.
Since his arrival back on English soil with the Baggies, injures have thwarted the USMNT international from having his maximum effect on matches. The 2022/23 season was another example of this when, despite getting on both the score, and the team sheet when involved under Carlos Corberán, Dike was stretched off during the first half of Albion's 2-1 away win over Stoke in April 2023.
It was later confirmed the striker had suffered an achilles tendon injury and although successful surgery was carried out on the issue, it meant Daryl would be sidelined for six-nine months and miss the first half of the 23/24 season. Despite that blow, the striker did net his first goal for the club against Sunderland to help the Baggies to a 2-1 win in December 2022, and ended the 22/23 season with seven goals in navy-blue-and-white stripes under his belt.
The powerful forward made his Baggies debut off the bench against Queens Park Rangers in January 2022 and started his first game against Peterborough the following week, but a hamstring injury sustained against the Posh prematurely ruled Daryl out for the remainder of his first campaign in an Albion jersey.
Dike took on the responsibility of scoring goals from a young age, bagging a state record of 70 goals for Oklahoma FC in the States.
Form during his late teenage years would soon propel the striker into the surroundings of a professional club. Daryl made four appearances for former ASL second division OKC Energy’s Under-23 side, netting three goals towards the end of his high school years.
Dike’s hunger for goals would then fire him into further opportunities during his college years with the Virginia Cavaliers. Despite initially beginning in the club’s reserve ranks the striker soon forced his way into the starting mix, and over the course of two years netted 15 goals in 36 appearances between 2018-19.
The Edmond-born striker’s impressive form in front of goal during his youth years showed his capabilities to compete in the professional game and it was something which didn’t go unnoticed by the MLS, as Dike signed the Generation Adidas contract in January 2020 - a deal which is only offered to the most impressive youngsters in college football.
This contract, combined with his goalscoring exploits, enabled the forward to be selected in the first round of the MLS Superdraft by Orlando City in the same month.
It didn’t take Daryl long to make an impression in men’s football, bagging three goals and two assists in three league games to scoop the MLS Player of the Month Award for October 2020.
A further five goals, including one in his last game of the 2020 MLS campaign against Nashville saw Dike end his rookie season with an impressive 11 goal involvements (eight goals, three assists) from 17 games.
Former Baggies boss Valérien Ismaël saw Daryl as the ideal fit for former side Barnsley and secured his services on February 1 2021, just a day after the ambitious attacker had made his international debut for the USA against Trinidad and Tobago.
The transition from the MLS to Sky Bet Championship didn’t faze the rising talent, with Dike netting nine goals in 19 appearances to help Barnsley finish in the play-offs.
Dike picked up where he left off once his first spell in English football came to an end, returning across the Atlantic to inspire Orlando to a play-off finish in the Eastern Conference - beating his maiden goals tally in US senior football by bagging 10.
And after a prolific 2021 in front of goal, the US international will be keen to add the finishing touch to Albion’s attacking play as he embraces his second spell in England’s second tier.