With the transfer deadline on the horizon, West Brom have entered the running to secure a last-gasp loan move for Premier League wonderkid Billy Gilmour.
According to reports in Spain (via the Mirror), the Baggies are one of several teams eyeing up a late swoop for the Chelsea midfielder, though it won’t be easy given the interest in him.
The likes of arch-rivals Wolves and Aston Villa as well as West Ham and Crystal Palace are all keen on securing him before tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline.
Albion boss Sam Allardyce only has one more domestic loan space available. Given the club’s success with Conor Gallagher this term, he would be wise to pair up his former academy teammate in the middle of midfield.
Gilmour is a unique prospect with the world at his feet, as Roy Keane told Sky Sports last season (via talkSPORT):
“As the game started I literally got out of my seat, which I very rarely do, and I thought, ‘Who is this kid?’ There are certain traits you want from a midfielder, quality on the ball, football intelligence, composure. He had everything. It was one of the best performances I have seen in a long, long time.”
The 19-year-old, valued at £6.75m by Transfermarkt, can play various roles in central midfield. Against Liverpool and Everton, he thrived as an anchorman, but a record of 16 goals and 13 assists across the U23s and U18s suggests he can also contribute further forward.
Indeed, the young Scottish starlet has taken inspiration from a plethora of midfield greats, namely Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets.
This sort of Spanish flair is something he’s been able to display in relatively short game time, and you’d struggle to liken that sort of profile to any of Allardyce’s current options.
“He’s so talented on the ball. He looks so comfortable; the minute he moves, he manipulates it,” said Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp. “He’s a big talent for Chelsea and Scotland going forward – and a really well-rounded kid.”
The only deep-lying playmaker in the squad right now is Romaine Sawyers, but he rates out as Albion’s second-worst player per WhoScored ratings (6.13).
He has struggled to have much of an influence at either end of the pitch – on average, he is dribbled past 1.8 times per 90 and only pulls off a successful tackle 50% of the time. The Hawthorns graduate provides the least number of key passes per 90 of all of the Baggies’ midfield options too, via WhoScored.
Gilmour, based on his ten competitive appearances, is only dribbled past 0.8 times per 90 and makes 71.4% of his tackles. Adding to the aforementioned creative aspect, the teenager has delivered two key passes per 90, on average, also via WhoScored.
West Brom sporting director Luke Dowling would be wise to make a move for Gilmour before the end of the day, as evident above, the £10k-per-week dynamo would alleviate some of those midfield struggles.
Allardyce can forget about Sawyers’ struggles by landing Gallagher’s Blues teammate in a last-gasp swoop. It could prove to be beneficial for all those involved.
AND in other news, Exclusive: West Brom backed to seal PL striker before deadline