West Brom starlet Finn Azaz eyes first-team role
West Brom midfielder Finn Azaz has outlined his desire to break into the first-team squad after a successful loan spell at Cheltenham Town.
Birmingham-born Azaz, 20, has been at Albion since the age of nine and he was a regular for the Under-23s side before he headed out for his first taste of senior football at the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign.
It’s been a hugely rewarding move for Baggies academy graduate, scoring twice and registering three assists in 44 appearances for the Robins as they won the League Two title on the final day of the season last Saturday.
Speaking to the official WBA club website, Azaz detailed what’s next for his career.
“I feel I’m much more prepared to play anywhere now,” he said.
“I hope this move has helped my profile because I’ve played around 35 games (37 in League Two) and we’ve won promotion, so I know it’s a good achievement and I played a big part in that.
“We beat every League Two team we played and we went up against Man City in the FA Cup, so it’s elevated my profile for sure.
“The aim’s definitely to play in the Albion first team, whether that’s next season or the one after, that has to be my priority for now.”
A dearth of midfield options
Azaz has been playing three rungs below Albion this season in League Two so the chances of him featuring next season might appear slim, but an array of summer exits will bump him up considerably in the midfield roster.
Loan stars Conor Gallagher, Okay Yokuslu and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are all unlikely to remain at The Hawthorns beyond the end of this season, which means the club will lose their first-choice midfield trio.
That leaves behind Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers who have been castigated by supporters this season for their poor displays.
Other players like Sam Field and Kyle Edwards are also likely to depart the club.
According to WhoScored Azaz has started 27 games as a central midfielder for Cheltenham this season.
With our relegation to the Championship confirmed last Sunday, could Azaz present step up and present another option?
We expect some big midfield signings in the summer so it will be a tough proposition for him to force his way into the side, but he could be one of a few midfielders left at the club for our pre-season fixtures so he should certainly have the chance to impress from the beginning, and who knows from there.
In other West Brom news, ‘Catastrophic error’ – Lepkowski & Goldberg blast Bilic over ‘incredibly reckless’ WBA signing.