West Bromwich Albion club captain Chris Brunt could be tempted to join Stoke City in the January transfer window, according to The Athletic.
The 35-year-old is a legend at West Brom and is the club’s longest-severing current player, but he’s struggled for game time this season under Slaven Bilic.
The midfielder has made just four Championship appearances this season – with all of them coming from the substitutes’ bench – and has found himself in and out of the matchday squad in recent weeks, due to the return of Gareth Barry.
With his contract at The Hawthorns set to expire at the end of the season, The Athletic claim that Brunt could be tempted by the chance to join Stoke on a short-term deal in the current transfer window.
Here are two potential knock-on effects on West Brom if Brunt were to join Stoke…
The club signing an experienced midfielder in January
Brunt may have only made four league appearances for West Brom this season, but he’s still an important player for the team. His experience and versatility make him a very useful option for Bilic to have in his squad.
With this in mind, West Brom will be reluctant to lose Brunt in the transfer window and are likely to try and persuade him to remain at The Hawthorns.
However, at the same time, given how respected and highly-regarded he is at the club, if he wants to move to Stoke this month, the club are unlikely to stand in his way.
If he does go, it’s possible that Bilic could dip into the transfer market and sign another experienced midfielder to replace him.
Rekeem Harper getting more chances
An alternative to West Brom dipping into the transfer market to replace Brunt would be to give some of the younger players in the squad a chance; Rekeem Harper is one player who immediately springs to mind.
The 19-year-old was able to establish himself as an important player for the Baggies last season – scoring one goal in 23 appearances in all competitions – but he’s really struggled for game time since Bilic took charge of the club.
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The midfielder has made just two appearances for West Brom this season and hasn’t been included in the matchday squad since August.
He’s a talented young player, though, and will be determined to force his way back into Bilic’s first-team plans. Brunt’s departure from The Hawthorns could pave the way for him to do just that.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.