West Bromwich Albion centre-back Dara O’Shea has been ruled out of action for four months according to Football Insider, after sustaining an injury against Portugal for the Republic of Ireland last Wednesday.
The 22-year-old remained with the national team after picking up this injury, being withdrawn in the 36th minute and limping off at the Estadio Algarve after suffering coming off worse in a nasty-looking clash.
This latest news is a devastating blow for the Baggies, who operate with three at the back and already have another central defender in Matt Clarke currently out for the next month with a hamstring injury.
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Kyle Bartley, Semi Ajayi and Cedric Kipre are their three remaining senior options at centre-back in the duo’s absence, although they may be forced to play the likes of Conor Townsend and Darnell Furlong at centre-back if Ismael is reluctant to use Kipre and/or the injury crisis deepens in this position.
With the club not under any EFL restrictions, they may also decide to dip into the free-agent market to bring in another senior centre-back to provide adequate depth in that position and ensure they remain in the race for automatic promotion.
Ahead of this potential move, we take a look at three out-of-contract players the Baggies could target.
24-year-old Bryan is still without a club after having his previous contract offer from Sheffield United withdrawn after entering negotiations with Middlesbrough.
Why a move for Bryan is yet to go through after widespread interest in his services not so long ago remains to be seen – but the Baggies may want to go back in for him after seeing him make his Premier League breakthrough last term and adapt reasonably well to the top flight.
With a move elsewhere looking unlikely at this stage, he may accept a reasonably modest offer, so this is definitely one to pursue if they wish to add more depth at the heart of defence before January.
The former Leeds United centre-back left Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the summer after spending seven years at Elland Road, after finding his playing time limited in the Premier League.
At 33, this would only be a short-term deal and he doesn’t possess the towering presence O’Shea has at the back – but he has promotion-winning pedigree and played a part in getting the Whites back to the top flight.
He didn’t play a huge amount of football for Leeds, even in the Championship, so he could be happy with playing a bit-part role in what would be likely to be a short-term solution to this reasonably short to mid-term problem at the back.
The 33-year-old was notorious for picking up red cards though, so he will need to remain disciplined if he wants to be a success at West Brom.
Wisdom may have been in a relegation battle with Derby County last season, but it would be interesting to see how he gets on with a side chasing promotion in the second tier and at 28, he could be a decent option to have at The Hawthorns for squad depth.
He played 38 times for Derby last season and continued to train with the Rams this pre-season – but was not offered a contract with the likes of Curtis Davies, Phil Jagielka and Richard Stearman all being given contracts instead.
Although the 28-year-old operated as more of a right-back earlier in his career, he has been converted into a centre-back since and spent the vast majority of his time in the centre last term.
With this, he could easily play on the right-hand side of central defence and could slot in there seamlessly, so this is another option the Baggies could look at in the absence of two of their key men.