WEST Bromwich Albion (WBA) could start its 2020/21 English Premier league season with an all-Nigerian centreback pairing after the club opened talks with Portuguese side Porto about bringing Chigozie Awaziem to the Hawthornes.
Awaziem, 24 is a Porto player who was sent out on loan top Leganes last season as part of a programme to get him playing time. Newly-promoted WBA who already have Super Eagles defender Semi Ajayi as the backbone of their defence, are now interested in bringing Awaziem to England where he would pair up with his compatriot.
Ajayi, 26, played in all but one of WBA’s league games last season and was a major factor in the club securing promotion to the Premier League. With Porto now dropping its asking price for Awaziem, West Brom manager Slaven Bilic, is hoping he can prise the defender away and create an all-Super Eagles central defensive pairing.
Porto had originally slapped a €15m price tag on Awaziem but with clubs suffering financially from the coronavirus lockdown, the club has had to review its valuation. It is believed that the club will now let the defender go for anywhere between €5m and €7m so long as a sell-on clause is part of any deal.
With only one year left to go on his contract, Porto have conceded that it will have to let Awaziem go or risk losing him on a free transfer. Already French clubs Reims and Nantes are said to expressed an interest in taking the centreback to Ligue One.
WBA, which has featured numerous Nigerians in the past including Nwankwo Kanu, Brown Ideye, Ifeanyi Udeze, Victor Anichebe and Osaze Odemwingie, could end up with three Nigerians on its books in the forthcoming 2020/21 season. Apart from Ajayi and Awaziem, Mr Bilic is eager to sign playmaker Ebere Eze from Queens Park Rangers.
Ebere, 22, is considered one of the mist creative and mercurial players in English football and art the moment, there is an almighty scramble for his signature. Ebere is yet to commit his international future to the Super Eagles but maybe if WBA sign him and he ends up playing alongside Ajayi and Awaziem, they might convince him to make the Fifa switch, having already featured for the England youth team.