West Brom are near to completing a deal for Brighton defender Matt Clarke, according to John Percy of The Telegraph.
The centre-back is expected to join The Baggies on a loan deal after it emerged that Sheffield United were also in the running.
Clarke, who has spent the last two seasons with Derby, signed for The Seagulls for £4 million from Portsmouth in 2019 and is yet to make an appearance for the coastal club.
Is it a good potential move?
Should Clarke sign for the newly-relegated Championship club, it would be good business for all involved. Clarke has thoroughly impressed during his time with The Rams, despite all the issues surrounding the club.
He has been a consistent performer for Wayne Rooney’s side and is a player that will be missed at Pride Park. For Clarke, it is a chance to impress at a club that will deem anything other than a top-six finish as a failure. If he can cope with the pressure that comes with this sort of expectation, then it would boost his chances of playing Premier League football next year.
For West Brom, they are signing a leader and a player who shows maturity beyond his years. Clarke has been a reliable figure in Derby’s back-line and would be an exciting addition to Valerien Ismael’s side.
Would he start?
The Baggies manager predominantly used a three-at-the-back formation with Barnsley, and that is something that is likely to happen at West Brom, meaning that Clarke has every chance of starting.
He would most likely be deployed as a left-sided centre-back, but given his ability on the ball and calming influence whilst in possession, it would be no real surprise to see him anywhere across a back three.
What does he offer?
Clarke is a central defender who possesses all the necessary attributes to succeed. His physicality and aerial ability, coupled with his sprint speed, make him very dependable out of possession.
With the ball at his feet, he is able to play penetrating balls through to the midfield and is comfortable taking possession in tight areas.
He certainly has the potential to cut it at Premier League level, but for now he has everything that is required to do well at a promotion-chasing Championship club.