West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Bruce has ruled out a summer move for former Baggies loan star Okay Yokuslu.
Speaking to the Express & Star after seeing his side beat Leyton Orient 2-1 in their first pre-season game of the summer, Bruce discussed the possibility of securing a deal for the Turkish midfielder, who is now a free agent following the expiry of his contract at Celta Vigo.
The Albion manager said of the 28-year-old: “He was a very good player, he didn’t play a lot last year – if I’m being brutally honest I think that ship might have sailed.”
In January 2021, the Midlands club signed Yokuslu on loan from Celta until the end of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
During his time with the Baggies, the midfielder ended up playing 16 league games for the club, providing one assist in the process. In those appearances, the 28-year-old won 33 tackles and made more interceptions (42) than any other player in Sam Allardyce’s squad, as it was at the time.
He also made 25 blocks, 40 clearances and 89 successful pressures, further highlighting his importance to the team from a defensive point of view in midfield.
His overall performances earned him a season rating of 6.96/10 from WhoScored, making him the joint-highest rated West Brom player for the season alongside Matheus Pereira.
This shows just how useful he was for the Baggies in the top flight and how pivotal he could have been for them in the Championship last season had they been able to secure a permanent transfer for the player last summer.
Taking all this into account, to hear Bruce suggest that Albion will not be pursuing a deal to bring Yokuslu back to The Hawthorns on a free transfer this summer will surely be disappointing for Baggies supporters, given how impressive the Turk was during his stint in the team.
With the Midlands club adding the likes of John Swift and Jed Wallace to their ranks this summer, West Brom fans must hope that the squad will have enough strength and depth to make a strong push for promotion next time around.