West Brom have been handed a fresh update in their pursuit of Celta Vigo midfielder Okay Yokuslu.
Last week, the Daily Mail reported that the 28-time Turkey international was one of Sam Allardyce’s main targets this transfer window. However, reports in Spain suggest the La Liga outfit will only consider a permanent move.
That’s according to Faro de Vigo, who refer to the Daily Mail’s story, but go on to claim that Los Celestes boss Eduardo Coudet would only sanction a sale rather than any temporary loan switch.
This hardly comes as a surprise as the 26-year-old has featured 13 times for Celta Vigo on their way to a respectable ninth-place in the Spanish top-flight, and whilst it remains to be seen what sort of fee Yokusui would command, it could be worth Albion’s time to stump up the funds.
Valued at €10m (£9m) by CIES, the versatile midfielder would be an almost instant upgrade to Big Sam’s current midfield, particularly on Romaine Sawyers, who you’d imagine would be most at risk over any central addition.
He’s struggled to adapt to the considerable step-up in quality since their promotion last term – of regulars in the starting XI (ten or more appearances), only club captain Jake Livermore has managed a worse average rating than Sawyers’ 6.29, per WhoScored.
In terms of central midfield options, the 29-year-old sits last for tackles per game (1.6) and similarly for key passes per game (0.4) – even the rarely-seen Lee Peltier and Filip Krovinovic have managed more than the Baggies academy graduate.
On Tuesday night, he was again pretty anonymous, grading the worst midfielder per SofaScore ratings with a 6.6. Sawyers won only two of his five ground duels, failing to combat the impressive Declan Rice, who pretty much ran the show with 75 touches (20 more than the Baggies man) at the London Stadium.
A swoop for Yokuslu solves this nightmare. The 6 foot 3 brute is an imposing figure at the base of midfield, and that’s seen him manage an average of three aerial duels won per game over the course of his career.
In addition to that, his mean number of tackles throughout the same timespan is 2.2, which would not just rank him above Sawyers, but also put him second behind Connor Gallagher in the current Albion squad.
As Turkish Football outlined in a scouting report of Yokuslu, he’s a ‘fine physical specimen’ and is a ‘swashbuckling midfielder who likes to get stuck in.’
That seems right up Allardyce’s street, so perhaps it’s no surprise to see him linked with the Turkish titan. If there’s any player that he should push sporting director Luke Dowling to sign, then it’s the Celta Vigo man.
Given the Midlands outfit have leaked the most goals in the top-flight this season, his presence in front of the backline could be everything they need and to make matters even better, he’s capable of playing at centre-back too – it’s a win-win, no matter the cost.