According to Express and Star, Championship promotion hopefuls, West Brom are interested in Rotherham United’s versatile centre-back Semi Ajayi, with manager Slaven Bilic finally looking to flex his muscles in the transfer window.
Ajayi is not the only player to have been linked with a move to the Hawthorns in recent weeks, with West Brom also closing in on a deal worth £8million for Cardiff City hitman Kenneth Zohore. Sporting Lisbon winger Matheus Pereira’s name has also come up in the shortlist of potential targets. (h/t Express and Star)
West Brom have already signed Croatian playmaker Filip Krovinovic on a season-long loan deal from Benfica but the Baggies are under pressure to bring in significant reinforcements, following the sale of star players Craig Dawson and Jay Rodriguez to Watford and Burnley respectively.
Last season’s top scorer Dwight Gayle has returned to his parent club Newcastle United while Salomon Rondon is also likely to reunite with Rafael Benitez at Dalian Yifang in China, meaning that Bilic has plenty of thinking to do before the next season gets underway.
Not only that, but West Brom also need to find replacements central midfielders James Morrison and Gareth Barry, who have departed the club upon the expiry of their contracts this summer.
To put things into perspective, West Brom’s interest in Rotherham’s Semi Ajayi comes is not really surprising.
The 25-year-old Nigerian might not be a household name but he is certainly capable of solving some major problems for the Baggies, given his versatility to operate in central defence as well as in a holding midfield role in front of the backline.
Along with Will Vaulks, Ajayi was one of the few shining lights of Rotherham’s otherwise disastrous campaign in the Championship last season, as the towering 6f 4in giant registered 7 goals and an assist in 46 league outings for the Millers.
The Nigerian earned plenty of plaudits for his character, resilience, combative presence, aerial ability and tough-tackling nature, whilst his proficiency in carrying the ball forward with purpose and knack for scoring crucial goals also caught the eye.
As a matter of fact, Ajayi’s impressive displays in the Championship earned him a few senior international caps for Nigeria last year.
Now, it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that the former Charlton and Arsenal man would be a massive coup for the Baggies this summer, given the lack of depth in their defensive and midfield options.
As well as Dawson’s departure, West Brom have also lost the services of loanees Mason Holgate and Tosin Adarabioyo, both of whom were amongst the mainstays of the backline last season.
Ajayi would not only add to West Brom’s current central defensive options which consist of Ahmed Hegazy and Kyle Bartley, but Bilic might also look at him as someone who could possibly provide cover for the likes of Jake Livermore, Chris Brunt and Rekeem Harper in central midfield.
Just to remind the fans, Stefan Johansen has also returned to Fulham following the expiry of his loan spell.
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Keeping all the aforementioned factors in mind, West Brom should not hesitate to splash the cash on the Nigerian this summer, as Bilic looks to build a squad capable of challenging for promotion to the Premier League.
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