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West Bromwich Albion

Report: West Brom: 900k Wigan Athletic transfer raid has been a real bargain

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West Bromwich Albion are on the cusp of earning themselves a Championship playoff place this season, and much of that success has been down to a rock-solid defense throughout the course of the campaign.

Only the top two teams, Leeds United and Leicester City, have conceded fewer goals than the Baggies this season, with Carlos Corberan’s well-drilled side managing to keep the opposition at bay with relative ease week after week.

With 44 goals conceded, plenty of plaudits have to go to the Albion backline, with Alex Palmer excelling in goal, as well as the outstanding performances of Cedric Kipre at the heart of defense.

After moving to the Hawthorns for a six-figure fee back in 2020, the Ivory Coast U23 international has gone from strength to strength in his defensive role and has been an absolute brick wall at times for his side this season.

Cedric Kipre excels amid West Bromwich Albion Championship playoff push

Kipre joined the Black Country side for a reported £900,000 back in 2020, and that signing has looked better value for money with each passing season the center-back has been at the club.

After helping keep Wigan Athletic in the league the season before, the Paris-born star took some time to get going in a white and blue shirt. His first campaign saw him loaned out to Belgian side Charleroi in the hope of getting minutes in the bank.

West Bromwich Albion are the latest club to throw their hat in the ring in a bid to sign Birmingham City star Jordan James this month.

The 2021/22 season saw James earn himself a return to first-team action for Albion, before spending the whole of last year on loan at fellow Championship side Cardiff City. His future at the Hawthorns looked in doubt after barely featuring for the club.

However, Corberan has stuck by his defender this season, and both player, club, and manager have reaped the rewards. James has delivered a series of standout performances across the year, becoming something of a mainstay at the heart of the defense.

The 27-year-old’s solid performances and no-nonsense approach at the back are exactly the type of qualities that the current boss loves, and it has proven to be a match made in heaven now that the defender has matured his game appropriately.

With 17 clean sheets in the 2023/24 season, West Brom has demonstrated their defensive ability time and time again en route to securing a playoff place. They need four points from their last two matches to ensure they are in the end-of-season showdown.

Within that defensive structure, Kipre has been a fundamental piece of the puzzle, with no Albion player performing more tackles in the defensive third this season. Additionally, his 65 blocks are also a club-leading statistic.

Cedric Kipre West Bromwich Albion Championship 23/24 stats
Appearances 42
Starts 42
Clean sheets 16
Goals 2
Minutes played 3,649
As of April 25th, 2024, Source: FBRef

Playing alongside Kyle Bartley or Semi Ajayi, the Baggies backline has often been insurmountable, with their prowess in the air backed up by a sensational ability to read the game and sniff out any danger before it becomes a threat.

Cedric Kipre contract information, West Bromwich Albion takeover

The worrying news for Albion fans is that Kipre’s deal at the Hawthorns is set to run out in a matter of months, with his four-year deal signed in 2020 expiring this June.

Corberan has already acknowledged the need to address the impending contract situation at the club, having mentioned it back in February.

He said: “It is something I know the club is having conversations with them, to see if the club’s targets – with the players we want, want to keep working with us so that in both parts we have the desire to keep working together.”

Carlos Corberan West Brom

“Important too is the financial expectation of the players is the same as the financial possibilities of the club. Those are the two things that need to be managed.

“But I know the club is having conversation with the players, we know many finish the contracts and I think it’s something in the next weeks or months will happen.”

The financial side Corberan mentions will have been bolstered by the takeover of the club by Bilkul Football WBA, with Chairman Shilen Patel purchasing 87.8% shareholding of the club.

That change of hierarchy could give the Baggies the additional financial boost to keep hold of the defender further than the current season, with Fabrizio Romano reporting that plenty of clubs have been keeping tabs on Kipre.

Whichever way you look at it, to pick up a player of Kipre’s quality for less than a million pounds these days is business well done. Although it took him a while to show his quality at the Hawthorns, he is now one of the most relied on members of the side and deserves all the accolades after a superb season in the second tier.

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