When West Bromwich Albion signed Conor Townsend for £750k back in 2018, it would have been safe to assume that the left-back was brought to The Hawthorns as back up to the England international, Kieran Gibbs.
At the time of his arrival, the 28-year-old had just enjoyed a fantastic season with Scunthorpe United, scoring four goals and registering five assists over his 32 appearances in League One, while Gibbs – who had joined Albion from Arsenal in a £6.75m deal a year earlier – was the club’s undisputed number one in the position, having featured 33 times for the Baggies in the Premier League in 2017/18.
This remained the case throughout Townsend’s debut season in West Bromwich, with Gibbs highly impressing over his 38 Championship appearances, scoring four goals and registering four assists, while the newcomer had to make do with just 12 second-tier fixtures.
However, the tide began to turn in the following campaign, with the £14k-per-week Townsend featuring in 27 Championship fixtures, over which he provided one assist and averaged a SofaScore match rating of 6.89. In comparison, the £30k-per-week Gibbs was awarded just 14 league appearances, over which he averaged a SofaScore match rating of 6.76.
Townsend’s usurping of the 32-year-old was complete last season, when, despite the Baggies’ ultimate relegation from the top flight, the 28-year-old highly impressed over his 25 Premier League appearances – helping his side keep five clean sheets, registering two assists and earning a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.86. Meanwhile, Gibbs averaged an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of 6.53 over his ten top-flight fixtures – before being released on a free transfer at the end of the season.
This term, the former Scunthorpe man has ensured that his reputation as a first-class left-back has continued to grow, having already helped his side keep five clean sheets, registered two assists and created three big chances over his 12 Championship appearances – with these returns seeing the defender average a SofaScore match rating of 7.01.
Furthermore, the player who Thierry Henry once dubbed “amazing” has also seen his Transfermarkt value rocket from £180k at the time of his signing to £1.8m today – a 10x increase – which, coupled with his ever-improving level of performance, proves that West Brom struck gold when signing the 28-year-old.