Simon Cox became Roberto Di Matteo’s first signing as West Bromwich Albion head coach yesterday when the 22-year-old striker completed his switch from Swindon Town in a £1.9 million deal.
Cox has signed a two-year contract with the club having the option of a further two years, after passing his medical at The Hawthorns.
Swindon will receive a guaranteed £1.5m from the deal, with a further £400,000 due in performance-related add-ons for the highly-rated young striker, who was the joint 29-goal top goalscorer in all four English divisions with Bristol Rovers’ Rickie Lambert last season.
He netted 32 times in total for the League One outfit last term, including three hat-tricks in games against Hartlepool, Scunthorpe and Northampton.
Cox was watched on several occasions by Albion staff and his goals almost single-handedly saved Town from the drop as they finished in 15th place – just four points above the relegation zone.
He rounded off the campaign with back-to-back braces against Bristol Rovers and Peterborough.
Di Matteo said he was confident Cox can make a big impact in the Coca-Cola Championship with Albion.
“Simon is an exciting, young talent with bags of ambition, hunger and determination,” Di Matteo said.
“He has a very good goalscoring record and I think he will be a great asset for our team next season.
“I’ve seen him many times and he has the ability to do well in the Championship.
“He had a lot of interest from other clubs, including one or two Premier League clubs, and we are very happy that he has signed for us.”
The Reading-born hitman joined his hometown club at the age of nine and progressed through the ranks to make his senior debut in the Royals’ League Cup victory at Luton in September 2005.
He found first-team chances hard to come by at the Madejski Stadium and spent time on loan at Brentford and Northampton, although his first spell with the Bees was cut short due to a broken leg suffered against Millwall in September 2006.
Following a subsequent successful loan spell at Swindon, where he fired eight goals in 19 games, he made a permanent beat-the-deadline move to the County Ground in January 2008.
Cox boasts an impressive ratio of almost a goal every other game, having scored 50 times in 119 career appearances, including 15 as a substitute.
Meanwhile, Bolton Wanderers manager Gary Megson has confirmed he still hope to entice defender Paul Robinson from Albion after having an initial bid rejected by his former club, however, he also denied any interest in signing Albion captain Jonathan Greening.
“Paul is a West Brom player at the moment,” Megson said.
“We have made an offer and we will wait and see what happens with that.
“We have not been involved with Jonathan Greening.”
The former West Bromwich Albion boss had been linked with a double swoop on Albion for the pair but Robinson is the only target and Bolton are considering another bid after an initial offer, believed to be about £1.3m including add-ons, was rejected.
Albion value Robinson a lot higher than that, perhaps even double, and have stated no player will leave the club for anything less than their own valuation.
However, Robinson has repeatedly stated his desire to leave Albion and remain in the Premier League.
Albion may be willing to do business to off-load a player whose presence could unsettle the squad during the pre-season tour of Slovenia, which gets underway this Sunday.