The Baggies were hopeful of landing Sakho from West Ham United, only for the Senegal international to fail a medical. So manager Tony Pulis will now prioritise a move to sign Ighalo from Watford.
According to Sky Sports sources: “West Brom are interested in signing Watford striker Odion Ighalo before the transfer window shuts.
“The Baggies want to bring in a new striker before allowing Saido Berahino to leave the club and they tried to sign West Ham's Diafra Sakho last week.”
The Football Whispers Index is currently giving the rumours of a West Brom switch for Ighalo a score of 3.9 out of five, which would suggest that, while the transfer may feel unlikely to most observers, there could actually be a legitimate chance of it happening.
As Sky Sports’ report suggests, West Brom’s pursuit of Ighalo – or indeed their insistence of adding a striker to their squad – could signal a softening in their stance on Berahino’s availability.
In one of the sagas of last summer’s transfer window, the young English striker was the subject of interest from Tottenham Hotspur, with the north London club offering more than £20 million for the young poacher.
But the Baggies were reluctant to part ways with one of their prized assets, and stood firm in their refusal to sell. Berahino took to social media to express his dissatisfaction, but still no move materialised.
Yet, this summer, with strong interest from Stoke City, West Brom may finally be ready to cash in on Berahino. And despite the England under-21 international being reduced to a largely back-up role last season, his value doesn’t seem to have been affected, with the Potters thought to be prepared to pay in excess of £20 million for the 23-year-old.
West Brom, in typical Tony Pulis fashion, have become known for their resolute defensive organisation, and direct approach to attacking; the Baggies regularly fielded a back four made up entirely of centre-backs last season, with the physically imposing Venezuelan striker Salomón Rondón leading the line.
It is unlikely that Pulis will be looking to differ his side’s approach too much next season, and his efforts to sign a new goal scorer should not be regarded as such.
Rather, the former Stoke manager will be on the lookout for a marksman who can fit in to what he has built at the Hawthorns, and Ighalo would be the ideal candidate to do just that.
The 11-cap Nigeria international bagged an impressive 15 goals in his maiden Premier League campaign last season. And alongside Troy Deeney, he acted as the ideal foil for the physical target man.
Deeney was the man who would come short to receive the ball, using his considerable strength to hold off defenders and look to bring his team-mates into play. Ighalo was the archetypal buzzing marksman: always on the move and looking to find a pocket of space within the penalty area.
That would be exactly what he would be asked to do at West Brom, with Rondón fulfilling the target man role in which Deeney was so adept alongside Ighalo for Watford.
With 34 goals from 38 games, only bottom-placed Aston Villa scored fewer goals than West Brom last season, so it stands to reason that the Midlanders would be focussing their efforts on improving their forward line ahead of the upcoming season.
After comfortably finishing above the relegation zone in fourteenth, there is no doubt that Baggies fans will be expecting their side to build on the stability that Pulis has brought them, and start to progress towards a top-half finish.
Ighalo would represent somewhat of a marquee signing for West Brom, and if they are to be successful in bringing in the 27-year-old, they will surely have to smash their transfer record set by the £12 million capture of Rondón from Zenit St Petersburg a year ago.
Watford will be no pushovers though, and will not allow one of their best players to leave without a fight. The Hornets have reportedly already rejected an offer in the region of £38 million for Ighalo from the Chinese Super League this summer, and there is no reason to believe they would be ready to sell to a Premier League rival without a major fee changing hands.