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West Brom: Corberan could ditch Ajayi for Lamare Bogarde

West Bromwich Albion are reportedly interested in signing Aston Villa centre-back Lamare Bogarde this month and his arrival at The Hawthorns could allow Carlos Corberan to ditch Semi Ajayi.

The Athletic reported last month that the Baggies could look to bring in the youngster in January as the manager looks to bolster his defensive options ahead of a likely promotion push in the second half of the campaign.

West Brom sit just outside the Championship play-off places after last weekend’s late defeat against league leaders Burnley but appear to have a great chance of a top-six finish if they can maintain their superb form since Corberan took over from Steve Bruce last October.

The manager has preferred a centre-back partnership of Erik Pieters and Dara O’Shea during his time with the Midlands club, which is perhaps partly down to the injury issues of Kyle Bartley and Ajayi.

The latter has made just two substitute appearances in the league since Corberan’s arrival and has struggled immensely on his rare starts this term, averaging a subdued 6.42 rating from WhoScored for his performances.

This ranks him as only the 18th-best performer at The Hawthorns so far in 2022/23 according to WhoScored, so he could be a prime candidate to depart in the January transfer window, especially if the manager can add another defender to his ranks.

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West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Bruce

First up on the quiz: after what game was Steve Bruce sacked by West Brom?

Bogarde could be an ideal option to succeed him, as the youngster would arrive with a very good reputation thanks to his performances in Villa’s youth ranks, with academy director Mark Harrison delighted about the Dutchman’s “immense potential” upon his arrival at the club from Feyenoord.

The 20-year-old, who can also play as a defensive midfielder, made his senior debut for Villa in the 2020/21 season but hasn’t played for them since, so a loan move could be good for both parties this month as he looks unlikely to break into Unai Emery’s first-team.

Given his reputation and potential, he could be a far better option for Corberan than Ajayi in the second half of the season, when you consider the Nigerian’s less than impressive displays under Bruce in the early months of the campaign.

While that would be tough on the former Rotherham man after his injury issues in the autumn, the Baggies must do all that they can to secure a top-six finish this season. Signing a versatile youngster such as Bogarde can only be a good thing for Corberan, even if it means getting rid of Ajayi.