West Bromwich Albion are closing in on the first two permanent signings of Slaven Bilic’s reign, with the Sun (18 July, page 55) claiming that they are making a £2.5 million bid for Rotherham United defender Semi Ajayi.
If the centre-half arrives, he is likely to move to The Hawthorns alongside Cardiff City’s Danish striker Kenneth Zohore, who has agreed an £8 million move to one of the Championship’s title favourites.
So, in conjunction with Filip Krovinovic’s arrival on loan from Benfica recently, it seems that The Baggies will soon have a much stronger spine as they plan to at least match last season’s top six finish.
Ajayi, a London-born, 6ft 4ins Nigerian international, was one of the Championship’s most underrated defenders last season, producing some exceptional performances even for a Rotherham side who ended the campaign heading back to League One.
The former Arsenal and Cardiff enforcer even scored seven goals, including a long-range screamer against Leeds United.
“If I lose him, it’s like losing two or three players because he can play in more than one position. That’s the last thing I want to happen. I do appreciate that people will be interested in him. So they should be. He’s ‘ledge’."
Though that ability to play in two or three positions is probably what attracted West Brom to Ajayi in the first place. So far this summer, The Baggies have lost Craig Dawson, Mason Holgate and Tosin Adarabioyo while the future of Ahmed Hegazi has come into question too.
Ajayi, then, could be expected to be an immediate starter for a side desperate for promotion. No pressure.
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