This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
It was a damning indictment of Rotherham’s attacking options in 2018/19 that their top scorers for the campaign managed only eight goals as they were relegated from the Championship, and one of those was a centre-back.
The Millers may have dropped down to League One but Semi Ajayi remained in the second tier as Slaven Bilic brought the 1.93m-tall defender to West Brom for a fee of £1.49m, as per TransferMarkt. It seemed a modest sum for a Championship footballer and, having already experienced the division, it wasn’t as if the ex-Arsenal man needed much of a settling-in period at The Hawthorns.
Right from the outset of the season, the 26-year-old has been a constant presence in Bilic’s first XI, missing only two league matches all term, one of which was through suspension. He has kept up his stellar scoring record again in a Baggies shirt, with five goals to his name before the season was halted due to coronavirus. That haul included goals in successive games against Fulham and Huddersfield in the autumn, along with one against Luton on his return from suspension on New Year’s Day. [via TransferMarkt]
That Ajayi has been an aerially dominant presence for West Brom may not seem entirely surprising given his height and his role as a centre-back, but the figures he has posted in this regard have been staggering. In three matches this season, he has reached double figures for successful aerial duels, with 10 in home games against Middlesbrough and Preston and a mammoth 14 headers won in the away victory over the Lilywhites (as per WhoScored).
Was Semi Ajayi West Brom's best signing of 2019?
Unsurprisingly, the defender has been lauded by numerous Baggies supporters for his performances throughout the season, with some fans even joking that he should be played as an auxiliary striker given his penchant for finding the net. He was included in a Championship team of the season picked by Sky Sports pundits recently, with Don Goodman stating that he “brings a vital amount of athleticism to West Brom”.
A potent presence in opposition penalty areas and a towering aerial powerhouse in his own box, Ajayi hasn’t taken long to prove that Albion’s £1.49m investment in him was a tremendous piece of business, one which could end up inspiring a return to the Premier League if things go their way in the next few weeks.
West Brom fans, just how good a signing has Ajayi been for £1.49m? Share your views in the comments section below!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience