By Callum O'Connell

20th Nov, 2023 | 11:10am

West Brom: Semi Ajayi January absence likely after international performances

Semi Ajayi has become more likely to leave West Brom in January after his performances for Nigeria solidified his place in the team, with the African Cup of Nations around the corner.

The tournament runs from 14 January to 11 February, meaning if the defender is called up, as has become evermore likely in recent days, he will miss five West Brom games.

Ajayi played 90 minutes in both international fixtures against Lesotho and Zimbabwe, earning high praise for his performances in the heart of the Super Eagles defence.

Following the 1-1 draw with Lesotho on 16 November, Nigerian news outlet gave the defender a score of 9/10, writing: “Instrumental in Nigeria’s draw, not only scoring the crucial equalizer but also showcasing solid defence and commendable runs from the backline.”

His next appearance came in another 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe, as Soccernet rated his performance as a 6.5/10, and praised the partnership with Calvin Bassey: “Partnered with Calvin Bassey in central defence once again, the duo showed more synergy and communication in working together.”

These displays showed how important Ajayi is at the heart of the defence, and his growing partnership with the Fulham defender is becoming a key part of the way the national team set up, with this likely to be the first-choice duo heading into AFCON.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

The strength of this Nigeria squad will give them the confidence they can go far in the tournament, with the aim of winning the trophy in the end, meaning the defender could be missing for the full duration of the tournament.

His growing influence and proven reliability for his country will play a big part in his selection, and with each strong performance he turns in, the more likely it becomes that Ajayi will be departing The Hawthorns in January to head off on international duty.

In other West Brom news, one Baggies sensation could quit in January after what Corberan said.