Date: 14th June 2019 at 1:28pm
Written by:

OPINION

West Brom fans would surely be thrilled if Slaven Bilic makes Fenerbahce midfielder Tolgay Arslan his first signing at The Hawthorns.

Turkish news outlet Fanatik has reported that Bilic, 50, wants to make the 28-year-old his first signing as Baggies boss and will enter talks with him to try and convince him to head to the Black Country this summer.

Bilic managed Arslan at his former club Bestikas, but the German central midfielder made a controversial move to Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce in January and played well as he helped them rise from 15th in the table to eighth.

West Brom are crying out for new players this summer in pretty much every position but Arslan could be the deep-lying playmaker that Bilic needs to add to his newly-inherited squad in the West Midlands.

According to stats by WhoScored, Arslan completed 85.8 per cent of his passes in league and European football last season for both Besiktas and Fenerbahce.

In those 22 appearances for the two rivals he also averaged 2.1 long balls, 2.5 tackles and 2.0 dribbles per match.

Gareth Barry was perhaps the best out of a bad bunch regarding West Brom’s central midfield options last summer and WhoScored’s stats say that he completed 80.2 per cent of his passes in the Championship and averaged 3.5 long balls, 1.5 tackles and 0.3 dribbles per league appearance.

Arslan’s stats are better and he is a similar player to Barry, whose contract expires at the end of this month and is likely to leave West Brom.

While it is true that the Turkish top-flight is not the strongest of leagues, Arslan’s stats also include his performances in Europe, where he played against teams like Genk, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Partizan Belgrade, teams that are similar, if not better than, what he would face in the Championship.

West Brom need a player like Arslan.

The former Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg midfielder could make a massive difference for the club next season and The Hawthorns would surely erupt if Bilic managed to sign a player he knows well and who is bound to shine in the 2019/20 Championship campaign.