With the new Championship season fast approaching, West Bromwich Albion still have a considerable amount of work to do in the summer transfer window if they are to have any hope of securing an immediate return to the Premier League come next summer.
One of the positions most in need of reinforcements is central midfield, with Okay Yokuslu, Conor Gallagher and Ainsley Maitland-Niles returning to Celta de Vigo, Chelsea and Arsenal respectively following the expiry of their loan deals at The Hawthorns, as well as Rekeem Harper and Sam Field leaving the club on permanent moves.
Yokuslu, in particular, highly impressed during his time with Albion, with the defensively-minded midfielder ranking as the club’s fourth-best performer in the top flight last term.
As such, with a deal to bring the 27-year-old back to The Hawthorns looking unlikely following the club’s relegation to the second tier, Valerien Ismael faces the challenge of finding a suitable alternative to the Turkey international this summer, with the recently linked Trevoh Chalobah appearing to be a fantastic candidate for the Frenchman.
While Chalobah has ultimately failed to break into the Chelsea first team, with Thomas Tuchel’s side reported to be more than happy to part with the former England U21 international this summer, the 22-year-old nevertheless demonstrated during a loan spell in France last season that he is a player with a significant amount of potential.
He also chipped in for Christophe Pelissier’s side going forwards, scoring two goals, providing two assists and creating one big chance for his teammates, in addition to making an average of 0.3 key passes and taking 0.5 shots per match.
For comparison, over Yokuslu’s 16 Premier League appearances for West Brom last season, the £6.75m-rated midfielder made an average of 2.2 interceptions, 2.4 tackles, two clearances and won 7.9 duels per game.
Going forwards, the 27-year-old failed to score for the Baggies, although he did manage to provide one assist and create one big chance for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 0.8 shots and making 0.4 key passes per match.
As such, while Yokuslu’s statistics do better Chalobah’s, there are nevertheless quite clear comparisons that can be drawn between the two players, and, considering the Turk is five years the Englishman’s senior, the argument could even be put forward that the youngster has a higher ceiling than the Celta Vigo midfielder.
So, it is easy to understand why competition for Chalobah’s signature is so high this summer, as well as why we believe Ismael must do all he can to land the £12k-per-week midfielder ahead of next season.