This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa is looking to further strengthen his squad during the January transfer window, with a move for West Brom youngster Rekeem Harper being considered, according to the print edition of the Sun on Sunday (January 19, Page 65).
Harper, 19, has been at the Hawthorns since aged 12 and has made 17 first team appearances for the Baggies back in 2017, while also making four appearances whilst on loan at Blackburn Rovers also back in 2017.
So would Harper be a good addition at Elland Road and is he actually needed?
“I just can’t see this happening for so many reasons.
“Firstly, there’s no way that Albion will want to help Leeds out by loaning them a player this month given they are promotion rivals and I’m not sure it would suit Harper either.
“He isn’t getting in under Bilic so any move will need to be to a club where he is going to play each week but that’s not guaranteed at Leeds.
“Even with their injury problems, you can’t see him getting in Bielsa’s starting XI, although he probably would make the bench. In the long-term he could be a good signing for Leeds as his energy and drive would suit the Whites but for a six-month loan this doesn’t make sense at all.”
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“Rekeem Harper is a talent. He’s a midfielder who buzzes around the pitch, but he’s at a superior team in West Brom, and game time has become limited. Slaven Bilic is said to be keen on loaning him out for the second-half of the season, but would Leeds be a good move?
“In my opinion, Harper should stay well away from Leeds. Putting aside the title chase between West Brom and Leeds, they’ve got just as good a squad as West Brom, and a loan-move for Harper would be pretty pointless – look at Jack Clarke for example.
“He’d no doubt be a good addition. He’s a quality, young player and his youthfulness could give Leeds the spark that the’;re missing right now, and with Kalvin Phillips to sit out the next three matches, he could well be a useful signing.
“But Marcelo Bielsa is unlikely to give Harper a lot of game time. Once Phillips has served his three-match suspension, Harper would be well out-of-favour, and with the likes of Matheus Klich to compete with too, Harper would likely be a squad player at Elland Road.”
“Harper would add some valuable depth to Leeds’ midfield given Adam Forshaw’s injury troubles and now Kalvin Phillips’ suspension, but it would be a big surprise if West Brom allowed the 19-year-old to join the Whites this window.
“The midfielder may have only made one Championship appearances so far this season, but it would still be a massive surprise if West Brom were willing to send Harper out on loan to one of their main promotion rivals this month.
“It is true that Harper’s development could be helped by playing regularly in a promotion-chasing side, but Slaven Bilic will argue that the teenager would also be an option for his side in the second half of the campaign.
“Leeds are in need of a transfer boost following their back-to-back defeats in the Championship, and there can be no doubt that Harper would be a solid addition to the midfield, but I can’t see this move happening anytime soon.”