Turkish midfielder Okay Yokuslu has dealt West Bromwich Albion a blow in their hopes of him returning to The Hawthorns next season as he wants to remain in the Premier League, per the Express & Star.
The 27-year-old was impressive in a holding midfield role in the second half of the season since arriving on loan from Celta Vigo, and he’s been linked with a move to Leeds United.
He may need to wait until a new head coach is appointed, but sporting director Luke Dowling will now need to be on the hunt for a replacement for the Turk – here are three names that could be considered to make the move into the Baggies engine room.
Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael has been linked to the hot-seat at The Hawthorns, but they should perhaps be looking at a talented player to take from Oakwell instead.
A natural centre-midfielder, 21-year-old Styles has played at left-wing-back for the past season – placed there by previous boss Gerhard Struber but he really flourished under Ismael.
He’s been a threat going forward but also key at snuffing out attacks from right wingers, and his 2.7 successful tackles per game rank him at third in the whole Championship for the campaign.
Even though he shone at left-wing-back, Styles could benefit further from going back into a midfield role and he may be the one to take over Yokuslu’s mantle – but you’d imagine he’d cost a sizeable seven-figure fee that Albion may not be able to afford in the second tier.
West Brom quiz: Does The Hawthorns have a higher or lower capacity than these 18 grounds?
According to The Athletic, 23-year-old Hamer is a candidate to replace Yokuslu after impressing in his first season in English football.
Little was known in these circles when Coventry splashed out to bring the Brazilian-born Dutchman to the Sky Blues last summer, but even with no fans allowed in stadiums he became a fan-favourite for his passion, energy and combative style.
Hamer has an eye for goal as well though, scoring five times in 45 Championship outings last season and that may mean that he’s not exactly the ideal replacement for someone who would marshal the defence and hold his position.
But you get the sense that Hamer hasn’t peaked yet and he has more development in his game so he would be a good fit – are Coventry in a position where they need to cash in though?
Linked with Championship clubs Millwall and Preston North End in late April, Oxford skipper Brannagan has a great pedigree having come through the Liverpool academy and he’s turned into a very solid EFL midfielder.
Aged 25 now, Brannagan is coming into the years where he should be producing his best football and as a holding midfielder he was influential in the U’s’ charge to the League One play-offs this past season.
To West Brom fans, Brannagan would probably be a bit of an underwhelming target but there are some talented players in League One – he may not do the fancy stuff but he keeps it ticking and isn’t afraid of putting a tackle in (completing 2.5 per game this past season), which is exactly what Albion need.