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West Brom’s new signing Ajayi trumps every player with one stat

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

At the start of last week Slaven Bilic appeared frustrated when demanding that West Brom needed to get going in the transfer market.

Therefore, it’s likely he will have been delighted that by Saturday, he had two new permanent arrivals at the Hawthorns.

Towards the end of the week he added Kenneth Zohore to his ranks after agreeing an £8m deal for the former Cardiff man.

He may have only scored one Premier League goal last term but his 21 Championship strikes in the two years prior tells you what he can do at a lower level.

Yet, on Saturday, they confirmed the arrival of Semi Ajayi. A man who standing at 6 foot 4, is a colossus.

He is a giant amongst men and that was summed up in the rather brilliant season he had for Rotherham.

The Millers struggled as a team, being relegated from the second tier, but Ajayi was still pivotal and his displays were enough for one of the top teams in the division to invest in his services.

Having moved from central defence to defensive midfield over the term, he played like a man possessed as he netted seven times whilst also making two tackles per match.

However, it was ability in the air that stood out over anything.

Across 46 Championship outings, he won 4.3 aerial duels per game, a success rate that puts him above any Albion player still currently in the squad.

His prowess in those types of situations was matched by the departed Craig Dawson whilst only Ahmed Hegazi, 4.1 aerial duels per game, and Kyle Bartley, four aerial duels per match, came close.

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Playing in two positions, he was phenomenal, winning 14 headers in one game on one occasion against QPR and winning a further 13 against Bolton. That first number came when playing as a holding midfielder too.

In terms of West Brom’s midfield, they were incredibly lightweight in this department last season as Gareth Barry won the most aerial duels. That stood at a measly 1.4 per match.

Therefore, the Nigerian’s arrival in the Midlands should be seen as a huge positive.

Article title: West Brom’s new signing Ajayi trumps every player with one stat

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