In Saturday’s home defeat against Sheffield United which sent West Brom bottom of the Championship, new manager Carlos Corberan had just one natural centre-back on the pitch.
The Spanish manager, who was appointed early last week, opted for a 3-4-2-1 formation with Darnell Furlong and Erik Pieters featuring as centre-backs, despite both having played as full-backs for much of their careers.
It was clear to see that neither were particularly comfortable in that position as the Blades came away with a comfortable 2-0 win at the Hawthorns, so Corberan must reconsider his team selection if he wants to continue with a three-at-the-back formation in the future.
Corberan is currently without Kean Bryan, Semi Ajayi and Kyle Bartley through injury and inheriting a defensive crisis is the last thing the former Huddersfield boss needs as he looks to turn a woeful start to the season around.
Even when the likes of Ajayi and Bartley have been fit, they have disappointed, with WhoScored ranking them as the 12th-best and 14th-best players in the squad so far this season, with abysmal 6.49 and 6.38 average ratings respectively.
This begs the question of why Steve Bruce allowed Cedric Kipre to join Championship rivals Cardiff City on loan during the summer transfer window.
He has already nearly eclipsed that with the Bluebirds, making 16 appearances for them as they currently sit 17th in the second tier, which is a far more comfortable position to be in than the Baggies.
The Ivorian defender earned a lot of praise from his former coach Tommy Wright when he was younger, who highlighted qualities now that a certain Corberan would love in his side.
He told The Athletic: “You could see at 18 that Cedric had everything. He was probably the most ripped player I have ever seen at 18. He had muscles bulging out of him that I didn’t know existed! But he could also play. He was so elegant on the ball — almost like a Rolls-Royce.
“He’s like an assassin; really quiet but with a presence about him. He wouldn’t be the one that you’d go around taking the mickey out of because he could destroy you physically but he was a very quiet, focused 18-year-old, who didn’t speak much English at the time and was settling into a new country.”
Kipre has impressed in his time with Cardiff thus far, averaging a 6.82 rating which is only bettered by one defender in West Brom’s squad, which emphasises just how poor a decision it was by Bruce to send him out on loan this summer.
Indeed, the club’s new boss would now get a great deal of use from the Parisian centre-back.