Dike leaves Orlando, signs 4 1/2-year deal with West Brom

American forward Daryl Dike signed with West Bromwich Albion of the second-tier English League Championship on the first day of the winter transfer window, agreeing Saturday to a 4 1/2-season contract.

The 21-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma, scored nine goals in 22 matches while on loan to second-tier Barnsley during the second half of the 2020-21 season. He returned to Orlando of Major League Soccer and had 10 goals in 18 regular-season matches plus another in his one playoff appearance.

Valérien Ismaël was Dike’s coach at Barnsley last season and was hired last June to coach West Brom. The Baggies were relegated from the Premier League after finishing 19th among the 20 teams and are fourth in the League Championship, on track to reach the promotion playoffs.

Dike made his professional debut in 2018 when he played four matches for second-tier Oklahoma City Energy, and joined Orlando in 2020. He scored 30 goals in 58 regular-season matches for the MLS team.

“From the moment we drafted him, we knew Daryl was a special talent, and this opportunity is a credit to both his natural talent and his dedication over the last two years,” Orlando executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Mazzi said in a statement.

Dike has three goals in eight appearances for the U.S., one in an exhibition against Costa Rica last June and two against Martinique in last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“He was always our first target and priority,” Ismaël said in a statement. “Dike has everything we need from the No. 9 position. He has energy, strength – he challenges defenders — and he scores goals. I worked with him at Barnsley and I know him very well. He has the mentality. He is 21 years old and is still a young player – but he has a lot of experience.”

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