West Brom could be in the market for a new central defender this January following the shock departure of Ahmed Hegazi last week, though the latest name mooted with a switch to the Hawthorns is cause for concern…
According to Football Insider, the Baggies have set their sights on a winter window swoop for relegated AFC Bournemouth captain Steve Cook with Slaven Bilic’s former club West Ham also in the race.
It’s claimed that the 29-year-old is out of contract in the summer and seems willing to let it run down, opening up the prospect of him leaving for free come to the end of the current campaign.
They also suggest that Cook’s experience and potential availability is of great interest to the Croatian.
It’s no secret that Albion have struggled defensively in the top-flight, leaking an average of 2.3 goals per game from six outings. No other Premier League side has conceded more so far this season.
However, a move for Cook fails to make much sense, after all the 6 foot 1 colossus was relegated with the Cherries last season – they had the third-worst defensive record and with the long-serving centre-back featuring in 29 matches, he clearly was part of the problem.
His average of 0.8 tackles per game is hardly inspiring nor is his 6.72 average for the campaign, per WhoScored.
Both Dara O’Shea and Branislav Ivanovic are averaging at least two tackles per game, so he wouldn’t be an improvement on either.
Cook’s former boss Eddie Howe believes he’s a “model of consistency,” also adding: “I think Cookie has had a very good season. He’s been consistent. Like most of our defenders, he’s improved through time, through repetition of work. Technically, I think he’s excellent. Athletically, he has come on this season from last season. And he’s shown a really good mentality every day in his training” (Daily Echo via Tribal Football).
If they want to stay in the division, then signing someone, who is on £45k-per-week, with a relegation to his name is perhaps not the ideal remedy for their problems.
Dowling must steer well clear this January.