West Brom have edged closer to signing Okay Yokuslu, according to emerging reports…
The Telegraph’s John Percy revealed that the Baggies were in talks with Celta Vigo over a move for the Turkey international before Saturday’s crunch match with relegation rivals Fulham.
He claims that a defensive midfield addition has been among Sam Allardyce’s priorities this transfer window, alongside a new forward too.
An initial loan deal for Yokuslu is expected to go through before the deadline on Monday. He has been cherry-picked over Leicester City youth product Hamza Choudhury.
Big Sam’s side are the leakiest defence in the Premier League, conceding a whopping 12 more goals than any other side but given he has plenty of options at the back, it’s on him to find the best partnership.
Although, an anchorman presence would certainly help as their midfield gets bypassed far too easily. Aside from rarely-seen academy graduate Sam Field, Albion do not have anyone else in the role.
When asked about the potential of defensive reinforcements, Allardyce told reporters, via BirminghamLive: “Unless I get rid of any of the six centre-halves I already have, no. I can’t bring another centre-half in when I already have six.”
But in Yokuslu, he’ll be getting a solution to this ongoing nightmare.
He also added: “If we can get a good defensive midfield player who can pass the ball as well as intercept and keep the pressure off the back four then we will try to get him.”
Indeed, this is what the 26-year-old would bring to the Hawthorns.
Currently, Allardyce has often turned to a partnership of Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore, neither of which are defensively-minded enforcers.
In fact, the former has been the Baggies’ worst player this season with an average WhoScored rating of 6.13 – no other regular starter has managed worse.
Livermore isn’t too far behind with an average rating of 6.17.
But Sawyers has been left wanting in multiple matches this season – it’s as if he’s not adapted to the rise in opposition quality and game intensity from the Championship to the Premier League.
Per FBRef, he is dribbled past 1.53 times every 90 minutes and is only able to successfully tackle his opposite number 29.4% of the time, which is again, the worst between him and Livermore.
The 29-year-old also ranks 11th in this squad for tackles and interceptions combined per 90 (3.18).
That makes him the more industrious and imperious option, so no wonder Allardyce has given the nod over this move.
Yokuslu has been described as a ‘fine physical specimen’ because of his 6 foot 3 frame and is said to be a ‘swashbuckling midfielder who likes to get stuck in,’ which would be right up Big Sam’s street going by his aforementioned remarks.
To make this move even better, the imposing colossus is equally adept at playing in central defence too, so that should aid their leaky backline.
As the Yokuslu is initially coming in on loan, it’s pretty much a risk-free deal as he’s only thought to be on £29k-per-week in Spain. If they stay up, they’ll only have to pay £4.4m for him permanently too, and that could be a bargain.
Allardyce can finally stop persisting with Sawyers upon this imminent arrival, as evident above, he’s the solution to this defensive nightmare.
AND in other news, West Brom urged to sign “quality” 24-cap international…