Pepe Mel’s Benitez ties could see West Brom bag Napoli star

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Pepe Mel’s first meaningful transfer business as manager of West Brom could be to bring in highly-rated Chilean forward Eduardo Vargas.

The Ladbrokes news team recently claimed that Mel’s appointment could be the undoing of the Baggies’ Premier League survival attempt, but the Spaniard is already using his connections to see about boosting his squad.

Mel remains good friends with former Liverpool boss and current Napoli manager Rafa Benitiez from their time together in the Tenerife dugout.

And with Napoli forward Vargas being consistently linked with a move away from the Stadio Sao Paolo Mel looks set to join the race to sign the 24-year-old.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Calcio Mercato Vargas’ agent claimed that while Spanish side Valencia have shown the most initiative, a host of other clubs are interested in acquiring the services of the Chile striker.

Vargas came to the attention of Napoli when firing 32 goals in 78 games for Universidad de Chile but failed to flourish for I Ciucciarelli last term, netting just three times in 28 appearances.

However, with 11 goals in 27 games for Chile and nine from 37 at Gremio – where he is currently on loan – the forward could be just the man to bolster the Baggies’ stuttering strike force.

With young Englishman Saido Berahino the club’s top scorer with a meagre four goals, second top scorer Shane Long joining Hull and Matej Vydra and Nicolas Anelka out of form the Baggies find themselves just three points above the relegation zone and priced at 8/1 for the drop.

A signing of Vargas’ calibre could go some way to turning round the fortunes of the club, which has now won just once in 12 matches in all competitions, and see the 1/14 on the Midlands club staying in the top flight drift as the weeks go on.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.