West Brom could be set to miss out on one of their mooted January targets as the transfer window draws to a close later this evening.
According to Sky Sports, the Baggies’ Premier League and relegation rivals Newcastle United have submitted an enquiry to sign Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham on loan.
It’s claimed that Albion were looking into signing him earlier this month, while the 24-year-old is keen to leave the struggling SPFL giants, who have reportedly slashed his asking price in half to £7m.
That’s as per Football Insider with the Frenchman entering the final 18 months of his current contract.
West Brom would be playing a risky game by allowing Ntcham to join an intense rival.
The Magpies may have won over the weekend but they still remain only four points ahead of 17th place Brighton, so another run of poor form would truly drag them into the mire – especially with the three teams below them all possessing a game in hand.
Albion, on the other hand, have it all to do at the foot of the table as they are six points adrift right now.
Ntcham would be a great addition for either team, therefore the Baggies’ hierarchy cannot afford to bolster one of their likely long-term rivals.
The box-to-box midfielder has struggled for game time this season, starting a total of seven league matches via Transfermarkt, but he has received glowing endorsements since his breakthrough at Parkhead.
Former Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers, now in charge of Leicester City, called him a “terrific talent” while Neil Lennon has said very similar, claiming they had “one hell of a player” at their disposal, adding: “When he is in the mood, he’s fantastic.”
In 19 appearances this season, Ntcham has averaged 2.1 dribbles per 90 minutes, which by comparison would top the charts for West Brom with Grady Diangana (1.8) and Matheus Pereira (1.6) the closest to matching his ability on the ball, via WhoScored.
Similarly, the French maestro is more of a creative influence (1.3 key passes per 90) from that deeper midfield role than either Romaine Sawyers or Jake Livermore as neither have managed a better average than 0.4 key balls per 90, also per WhoScored.
That’s exactly why the Baggies can’t see him go to Newcastle. If Steve Bruce is eyeing him on loan, then perhaps Albion sporting director Luke Dowling should consider putting in a bid of their own.
He’d clearly add a new dimension at the Hawthorns and at the same time, it would prevent a rival from strengthening.
Although for the time being, this will come as a disappointing blow. With less than 16 hours to go until the deadline, both Dowling and Big Sam are quickly running out of time.
AND in other news, Big Sam could secure his next Defoe with swoop for £6m-rated “unique talent”…