West Bromwich Albion defender Semi Ajayi has admitted that he turned down the chance to sign for Crystal Palace earlier in his career, describing an offer from the Eagles as a ‘bad deal’ while speaking during an Instagram Q&A with Don.emusic.
With Slaven Bilic’s Baggies potentially just a handful of games away from returning to the top flight, the late-blooming 26-year-old could finally be given the opportunity to show Palace what they are missing out on.
Ajayi has been playing arguably the best football of his career since joining West Brom from Rotherham United in a £1.3 million deal last summer, forging an impressive partnership with Kyle Bartley at The Hawthorns.
A one-time Arsenal youngster, the 6ft 4ins powerhouse was forced to drop down the divisions in order to prove himself. And, when the chance arrives, you would imagine that Ajayi will be chomping at the bit when Crystal Palace arrive in West Bromwich next season.
“Palace offered me a deal but it was a bad deal and my agent was telling me ‘I not going to sign that’,” Ajayi explains.
“I told Crystal Palace’s U23 manager at the time that it was my last day and I was going elsewhere. He couldn’t believe it.”
A centre-half whose eye-catching, ball-playing style perhaps belies his giant frame, Ajayi has immediately taken on fan favourite status at West Brom, with the Baggies fans admiring his rather unique approach to playing the game.
While the headlines are so frequently hogged by Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson, there is no doubt that the signing of Ajayi is one of the main reasons why West Brom are closing in on promotion.
£1.3 million very well spent.