West Bromwich Albion may have enjoyed a pretty successful transfer window but it’s hard to argue against them dropping a massive clanger over one reported target…
The Athletic’s reliable Baggies correspondent Steve Madeley claimed earlier in the summer that Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer was a name that the Midlands outfit were taking a look at.
He was seen as a viable alternative to Shane Duffy, who would actually go onto join the Scottish champions on loan, and this move should have then opened the door for Albion to strike.
It’s quite astounding that West Brom have failed to properly bolster their leaky backline. It was a problem in the Championship last season, and it’s been increased tenfold now they’re back in the big time.
The Baggies have the joint-worst defensive record across England’s top four divisions, which is a rather damning statistic and only raises further questions to why someone like Ajer wasn’t prioritised.
Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi as a pairing just isn’t good enough and that much has been evident in their 13 goals conceded in just four outings.
Ajer’s red-hot form spilt onto the international stage this week as he kept a second consecutive clean sheet for Norway against Northern Ireland where he also won 80% of his duels, recorded two clearances and made 95% of his passes, per SofaScore.
The 6 foot 6 colossus has averaged 3.1 aerials won, 2.8 clearances, 1.6 tackles and one key pass per game in the Scottish Premiership this season, via WhoScored.
It is this sort of frightening presence at the back that Albion lack severely – neither Bartley nor Ajayi have averaged above a 6.25 rating on WhoScored – there are nine players with better averages this season.
That clearly shows a problem and it’s one that Dowling, Bilic and the Baggies have failed to resolve at the Hawthorns.
They can only have themselves to blame if that’s what takes them down come the end of the season.
AND in other news, West Brom could be dealt huge blow for Burnley clash…