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West Bromwich Albion

Cost £15m, now worth just £1.6m: West Brom blundered badly with a former flop

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West Bromwich Albion will still believe it’s their season to clinch promotion to the Premier League, regardless of recent poor form seeing their solid grip on a Championship playoff spot become weaker.

The Baggies have only won one of their last six games in the division, with that 2-0 victory coming in fortunate fashion against Rotherham United with one of the goals a dubious penalty call.

However, Carlos Corberan’s men won’t let their spot in the top six slip completely and will want to return to the top flight for the first time since dropping out of the elite league at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Memories of playing against the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal regularly are soured somewhat by the numerous transfer blunders the Baggies fell victim to, this £15m buy in particular back in 2017 going down as one of the club’s worst misfires.

Oliver Burke’s transfer to West Brom

The world was expected of Oliver Burke when he entered the Hawthorns six years ago, joining for a bumper £15m fee after impressing at Nottingham Forest earlier in his career.

RB Leipzig would end up being the winners in this deal, however, offloading their lacklustre attacker for mega money who never really got going in his new German location after waving goodbye to the City Ground.

Burke would manage to only score one goal and pick two assists from 26 forgettable appearances at Leipzig, already a fall from grace for the winger expected to be a star after exiting Forest.

Leipzig didn’t just go after Burke wildly in the hopes he would suddenly become a key performer overnight however, with the Scottish attacker bagging six goals for Forest from 31 games to catch the eye of higher-up suitors.

Yet, much like his time out in the Bundesliga, Burke would flop even on his return to English soil with the Baggies to make that £15m splashed out by the West Midlands club look like a colossal waste of money.

oliver-burke

Oliver Burke’s time at West Brom

The ex-Forest man would struggle in a West Brom strip throughout his three-season stay at the Hawthorns, amassing just 24 appearances over that time span with a meagre five of those managed over his last two campaigns.

Burke would be as goal-shy as he was out in Germany in the Midlands, only finding the back of the net once in action for the Baggies against Luton Town in the EFL Cup during his up-and-down debut season.

His pay packet whilst with West Brom would also have troubled the club’s finances further, with Burke costing the Baggies £1.3m in wage costs alone during his disastrous stint on top of the transfer fee fee originally forked out.

Full West Brom lineup for Burke’s Premier League debut
West Brom 1-1 Stoke City, August 2017
1. GK – Boaz Myhill
2. RB – Allan Nyom
3. CB – Ahmed Hegazy
4. CB – Craig Dawson
5. LB – Chris Brunt
6. CDM – Gareth Barry
7. LM – Matt Phillips
8. CM – Jake Livermore
9. CM – James Morrison
10. RM – Jay Rodriguez (Oliver Burke)
11. ST – Salomon Rondon
Sourced by Transfermarkt

Only given two minutes to shine in his first game off the bench, Burke would never bed himself into the West Brom first team effectively and would later be shipped out on loan to various different clubs as a result.

His time away at Celtic on loan would even see Burke criticised numerous times, branded a “disgrace” by former Hoops great Frank McAvennie after the Baggies dud put in an anonymous display in one Old Firm Derby.

Oliver-Burke-West-Brom

There must have been a collective sigh in West Brom quarters when Burke was officially off the club roster for good in 2020 when Sheffield United snapped him up, with Callum Robinson joining the Hawthorns ranks in a swap deal as part of the transfer.

Burke has since struggled to make a name for himself for a whole host of clubs after departing West Brom on bad terms, the now 27-year-old lining up for Gary Rowett’s Birmingham City in a relegation dogfight at the bottom of the second tier on loan from Werder Bremen.

His once extortionate £15m valuation has taken a significant dent as a result, with the nomadic winger now worth less than Josh Maja in the current Baggies camp even with the striker having an injury-disrupted season.

Oliver Burke’s transfer value in 2024

Burke’s value now comes in at a paltry £1.6m according to Football Transfers, with the one-time Forest starlet struggling at yet another new employer in the Blues.

Surprisingly picked to start Birmingham’s last match against Rotherham United, which led to a social media storm about his inclusion, Burke would last just 45 minutes against the Millers before being hauled off.

Burke’s numbers vs Rotherham
Minutes played 45
Touches 18
Accurate passes 7/12
Shots on goal 0
Duels won 2/7
Sourced by Sofascore

Looking at his numbers from the 0-0 draw at the New York Stadium above, it’s not a great shock to see why Rowett substituted Burke for the second half in South Yorkshire.

His continued woes on the pitch with whoever he lines up for have contributed in his transfer value falling off a cliff, with Maja worth just a bit more than Burke at £1.7m despite not playing a game in 2024 of yet.

Oliver-Burke-Birmingham-City

Maja will hope he can fire in plenty of goals next season for Corberan’s men when he’s shrugged off his recurring injury problems, giving Brandon Thomas-Asante fierce competition up top in the process.

The ex-Sunderland striker had only fired in one Championship strike from the 11 games he managed before a season-ending injury in late December, but he can’t be written off just yet.

Burke’s future back at Bremen looks very much up in the air on the other hand, with the Bundesliga side not exactly head over heels for the 27-year-old anymore based on his torrid spell at St Andrew’s to then give him another chance.

carlos-corberan-west-brom-championship

If West Brom do end up returning to the top flight through the drama of the playoffs, they will have to be cautious about overspending so as not to have another expensive mistake on their hands.

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