West Brom have been handed a promising boost in their quest to secure a new defensive midfielder before Monday’s 11pm transfer deadline.
According to ever-reliable Telegraph reporter John Percy, the Baggies are closing in on sealing a loan swoop for Celta Vigo powerhouse Okay Yokuslu.
He claims that the Midlands outfit are “on course to complete” a deal to take the 26-year-old Turkey international on loan until the end of the season before tomorrow night.
This will come as a huge source of encouragement for struggling Albion boss Sam Allardyce as he’s been longing for a defensive midfield addition all month – and ultimately, it’s something they have desperately needed for a very long time.
Heading into the new season under Slaven Bilic, West Brom only had one out-and-out option in the role in Sam Field, but evidently, neither the sacked Croatian nor the man tasked with keeping them up have fancied him as he’s only played a total of 59 minutes in the league all campaign, despite West Brom leaking a whopping 19 goals in the five home games under Big Sam.
A big issue has been how easy it is to bypass the Albion midfield, both regular starters in the central position – skipper Jake Livermore (6.18) and Romaine Sawyers (6.13) – have been their two worst players, as per WhoScored ratings.
The engine room duo are also two of the top four in the ranking for most times dribbled past players Premier League players this season, via FBRef. That merely reinforces the notion that they are struggling against top-flight opposition since their promotion from the Championship.
Yokuslu could, somewhat, solve this issue as the 6 foot 3 colossus is an imposing figure who is also capable of playing in defence.
In La Liga this term, the 28-cap enforcer is only being dribbled past an average of 0.8 times per 90 minutes and compared to Livermore (1.3x per 90) and Sawyers (1.8x per 90), that’s a major upgrade, per Whoscored.
His average of 2.5 tackles per 90 at a success rate of 71.5% is also vastly above that of Albion’s two options too.
Clearly, as evident above, Allardyce will be delighted to get Yokuslu over the line. The midfielder will be a valuable addition to the Premier League’s leakiest backline.
AND in other news, Exclusive: West Brom backed to seal PL striker before deadline