West Bromwich Albion are back in the big time after a two-year absence, but if they are to remain, then Slaven Bilic must bolster his backline…
According to The Athletic’s Steve Madeley, the Baggies have held discussions over a potential move Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer.
It’s claimed that the 22-year-old is of interest to Bilic as an alternative to Brighton’s Shane Duffy but he may only be available at an eight-figure fee, so it remains to be seen if West Brom could afford the move.
The Scottish champions are also keen on the Seagulls’ man, meaning the door could perhaps open for the Norwegian colossus.
It’s no secret that Albion’s biggest problem was defensively – Bilic’s men leaked nearly a goal a game in Championship with a total of 45 conceded.
Many of which were from set-pieces, where the Baggies ranked fourth-worst for goals conceded via a dead ball situation, so it’s no wonder that the boss is interested in adding a 6 foot 6 giant to his back four.
Semi Ajayi, Kyle Bartley and Ahmed Hegazi probably isn’t going to put much doubt into the minds of the opposition strikers this season.
In Ajer, they’d be getting an absolute animal whose also capable of playing in defensive midfield and at right-back, a position he was once described as “Cafu-like”.
🗣️ BR on Kristoffer Ajer: "I think he’ll go to the very highest level of the game. He’s a real leader for a young guy and he’s only going to get better and better. Joy to work with. Good guy, clever boy and his life’s devoted to football." #RBKCEL #UCL
More online soon.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) July 31, 2018
The 22-year-old man-mountain has also been praised by Mark Wilson as the best centre-back in the SPFL as “he’s aggressive” whilst teammate Christopher Jullien echoed ex-Bhoys boss Brendan Rodgers’ comments and said: “Kris has a bright future and a good present. He’s a young player and everyone here knows his quality. He has good leadership skills.”
It’s believed, per Calciomercato, that Celtic’s asking price is around €25m (£22.5m) so if those at the Hawthorns can fork out the funds, then they’d bolster their chances of remaining in the top-flight.
Forget Duffy, this is the central defender Bilic needs to end his defensive nightmare.
AND in other news, West Brom should look to £15m sensation to replace Kenneth Zohore…