West Bromwich Albion’s start to life in the Premier League has gotten off to the worst possible start as they sit outside the bottom three on just one solitary point.
And that was a game in which they should have won having gone into the break against Chelsea with a three-goal advantage, though an all too familiar issue continues to creep up each and every week.
The Baggies have the worst defensive record in the division having leaked a whopping 13 goals from only four matches – even rock bottom Fulham have conceded fewer times this season.
It makes you wonder why the club didn’t make moves to sign another centre-back as it’s clear to see that neither Semi Ajayi nor Kyle Bartley are cut out for the big time.
On Thursday evening, that decision was made to look even sillier as mooted summer target Kristoffer Ajer put in a commanding display for Norway in their Euro 2020 qualifier defeat to Serbia.
According to The Athletic’s Steve Madeley earlier in the transfer window, the 6 foot 6 Celtic colossus was a player on Albion’s radar.
He said: “The Athletic understands Albion have shown some interest in Ajer, who could leave Parkhead this summer and could be an alternative to Duffy. But a possible eight-figure transfer fee would make a straight cash deal for the Norway international unlikely.”
That fee was thought to be around £20m, as per reports in Scotland. That should have been a price paid to help their plight to stave off relegation this campaign.
Ajer won a whopping 83% of his duels and recorded eight interceptions, five clearances and four tackles, via SofaScore, who also rated his display at a team-high (outfield players) 7.8.
A gargantuan display all-round despite the defeat.
By comparison, the Baggies’ defensive duo are averaging ratings of 6.25 (Bartley) and 5.76 (Ajayi) per game this campaign. A 36-year-old Branislav Ivanovic is hardly going to be the answer either.
Albion chief Luke Dowling has been made to look a fool by not signing a new central defender this summer and by the time January swings around, it could well be too late.
AND in other news, Exclusive: West Brom striker Hal Robson-Kanu talks Gareth Bale and Wales