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“He’s making the wrong move” – West Brom fan pundit reacts to player departure

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This article is part of Football League World’s Terrace Talk‘ series, which provides personal opinions from our FLW Fan Pundits regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

West Bromwich Albion have lost their grip on yet another talented prospect as it was confirmed this week that Reyes Cleary has opted to depart the Baggies.

The 18-year-old striker turned down a professional deal with Albion, despite being offered what the club believed to be an attractive package.

It has been a whirlwind season for Cleary, who in the season prior to 2021-22 had scored eight times for West Brom’s under-18’s in the youth Premier League from 15 outings.

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Graham Dorrans

His record in the same competition this past season was 13 goals in 11 appearances, as well as scoring seven times for the club’s under-23’s in 15 games, and that kind of form not only led to his first-team debut in the FA Cup against Brighton in January, but also big clubs start to circle around his signature.

Arsenal, Everton, Bayern Munich and Newcastle United are just some of the clubs believed to have watched Cleary this season with a view to bringing him in, and he’s opted to join a long line of youngsters that includes Izzy Brown, Tim Iroegbunam, Yan Dhanda and Jerome Sinclair for perceived bigger things.

One person who believes that Cleary could be making a big mistake is FLW’s West Brom fan pundit Matt, who has indicated that staying at Albion would have been best for the young striker’s immediate first-team opportunities.

“It’s difficult to really judge if Cleary is making the correct or incorrect move before we find out which club he’s turned Albion down to join,” Matt said.

“Perhaps he may arrive somewhere with a more realistic chance of gaining time which you couldn’t really blame him for.

“Equally, he could move to a European heavyweight – I think we’ve seen a few big names thrown about and have been linked to him – so it’s difficult really.

“The track record of youngsters leaving Albion at an early age doesn’t really work in his favour, the rumblings that he was demanding big money, which in that case I wouldn’t say Albion have made a mistake in letting him go.

“It’s always disappointing to see your best young players leave, however if it does turn out that Cleary’s asked for somewhat ridiculous money then I can’t blame Albion, in some ways I’m not disappointed.

“I probably would say he’s making the wrong move – staying at Albion, progressing, giving it a few more years at the very least, he’s got a long time in the game, I can’t see where better to develop unless he joins a lower league team and he’s playing first-team football in the next couple of years or even sooner.

“I’m not entirely disappointed if he’s asking for big money and money Albion can’t afford.

“Equally, I’m not happy to see our best young player leave and I can’t really judge if he’s making the right or wrong call yet before we find out where he ends up.”

The Verdict

When things were going wrong for the Baggies midway through the season and they were struggling to score goals, fans were clamouring to see Cleary given a go despite his young age.

When Valerien Ismael decided not to do that though, perhaps Cleary’s mind was made up over his future then as he seeks pastures new.

For a young player, seeing the likes of Bayern Munich and Arsenal be interested in signing you is no doubt a very head-turning prospect, and that looks to have happened here.

It’s another player to add to the list for West Brom in terms of a premature exit, but we will only find out in the next couple of years as to whether Cleary was right to turn down the chance to sign professionally at The Hawthorns.


25 years old, UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, Preston North End fan

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: “He’s making the wrong move” – West Brom fan pundit reacts to player departure

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