West Brom complete Thievy Bifouma loan with view to permanent deal in summer

Bifouma will provide Nicolas Anelka with competitions up front. Photo: PA

West Brom have signed striker Thievy Bifouma on loan until the end of the season, with an option to make the move permanent.

The France Under-21 international joins from Primera Division side Espanyol, who have netted a loan fee of almost £500,000.

Bifouma represents manager Pepe Mel's first signing since arriving at the club, and helps provide attacking cover following the departure of Shane Long to Hull and with Nicolas Anelka potentially facing a ban over his "quenelle" goal celebration.

Bifouma has scored three goals in 11 La Liga appearances this term despite starting just twice.

"Thievy is a good striker. He is quick, can score goals and is able to play across the front three positions," said Mel.

Baggies sporting and technical director Richard Garlick added: "We're delighted to welcome Thievy to the club.

"We set out to strengthen our forward options and Thievy is a little different to the other strikers we have.

"He is a player we have been monitoring for some time and has arrived with a real hunger to prove himself in the Barclays Premier League."

A statement on the Espanyol website read: "Thievy Bifouma to join West Bromwich Albion until the end of the season after an agreement was reached with the English club.

"WBA will pay the player until the end of the season and pay 500,000 euros,with more than 100,000 euros in other variables."