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West Bromwich Albion

West Brom could look to Chelsea for replacement if Celtic deal can’t be done

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With just one loss since the beginning of February, West Bromwich Albion is in a strong position to make the playoffs this year.

The Baggies had a rough start to 2024, losing two of their three league games in January. However, since Celtic loanee Mikey Johnston joined the team, West Brom has been unstoppable.

With 14 appearances for Carlos Corberan’s team, Johnston has seven goals. He is a nominee for the PFA Championship Fans’ Player of the Month Award for March.

The 24-year-old has performed admirably, helping West Brom secure a playoff berth. However, his striking performances have made rival teams aware of his availability come summertime.

Johnston, an academy graduate, is reportedly up for sale at Celtic, but given his recent stellar play, a low price is improbable.

West Brom may seek elsewhere in the summer because it’s unknown if the team’s new owners would be prepared to spend a lot of money on Johnston, who has a history of injuries.

Tryique George, an 18-year-old from Chelsea who has had a fantastic season with the Blues U18s and was voted one of the 50 best kids in London by the Evening Standard, provides an intriguing option.

George’s age and lack of senior experience will be cause for concern for West Brom. However, Omari Hutchinson, a fellow Chelsea prospect, had a breakthrough loan spell at Championship leaders Ipswich Town, which gives the Baggies hope while they search for Johnston’s replacement.

Mikey Johnston 23/24 stats as per Transfermarkt
Competition Appearances Goals Assists Minutes
Championship 14 7 1 886
Scottish Premiership 9 2 1 302
Champions League 2 0 0 97
SFA Cup 1 0 1 26

Johnston will present competition for West Brom.

Given that Johnston has been playing well for West Bromwich Albion, Carlton Palmer said that “Norwich and Sunderland, and other probable Championship clubs would be monitoring the situation.” Other Championship clubs have taken notice of Johnston’s play.

Despite his recent progress, the Republic of Ireland international is expected to leave the Scottish champions permanently, despite seeing some playing time at Celtic.

While other teams are interested in signing Johnston, West Brom hopes to be able to offer him Premier League action in the upcoming campaign.

The uncertainty surrounding West Brom’s finances following the takeover makes it unclear, though, if the team will have the funds to bid on Johnston.

George anticipated playing senior football the next season.

Another player off the production line at Cobham, pacy winger George has his sights set on playing senior football next season after a breakthrough campaign with Chelsea’s academy.

With 13 goals and five assists in 27 matches this season across Chelsea’s youth teams, George is on the cusp of breaking into the Mauricio Pochettino’s squad.

Tyrique George 23/24 stats as per Transfermarkt
Competition Appearances Goals Assists
U18 Premier League 11 8 5
Premier League 2 9 3 0
FA Youth Cup 4 2 0
EFL Trophy 3 0 0

But because he lacks senior experience, Chelsea may decide to send him out on loan so he can get first-team experience before taking a closer look at him.

Whether or not the risk is appropriate for West Brom would need to be considered; this would probably depend on which league they play in the following season.

Citing Cobham graduate Hutchinson’s outstanding breakthrough season at Ipswich, West Brom may aim to bring George in should they fail to achieve promotion. George hasn’t played a single minute of adult football, therefore playing Premier League games would likely be too much for him.

George is undoubtedly a gifted athlete who seems prepared to advance to the next level of competition. However, there’s no guarantee the young winger will take off like Johnston did, so West Brom needs to make sure they have the correct environment to develop him and let him make mistakes.

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