West Bromwich Albion have now completed the signing of centre back Matt Clarke from Brighton and Hove Albion on loan, with the club confirming the news via Twitter.
The former Derby County and Portsmouth man arrives at the Hawthorns as Valerien Ismael’s second new addition since taking on the head coach role in the Midlands and is an impressive signing on paper.
Clarke spent the past two seasons on loan at Pride Park and quickly became a fan favourite for the Rams because of his assured displays at the back.
Now he will be looking to press ahead with Albion as the Baggies target an immediate return to the Premier League following their relegation last season.
The higher or lower West Brom transfer fee quiz – can you get 20/20?
Here, we take a look at ONE winner and ONE loser at West Brom following the arrival of Clarke yesterday…
Winner – Semi Ajayi
Ajayi is sure to benefit from the signing of his fellow centre back as it provides him with a potential new partner at the back after a tough campaign in the top flight.
The original partnership of Ajayi and Kyle Bartley failed to really get off the ground last term and the pair were certainly guilty of being disorganised on more than one occasion.
Clarke is predominately left footed, which should add some balance to the back four when they are in possession and attempting to play out from the back.
Add to the fact that he is also more of a stopper than a sweeper and it’s clear that he will be able to aid Ajayi in difficult defensive situations.
Loser – Dara O’Shea
The Irishman will now almost certainly drop down to fourth choice in the centre back pecking order following the arrival of Clarke and is sure to be the main loser.
Despite not always being a regular starter last season, O’Shea was still afforded 25 starts in the league and is still improving all the time.
His progress is however set to be stunted if Ismael chooses to go with a back four as it appears that only a combination of Ajayi and Bartley or Clarke will suffice moving forwards.
There has been suggestions that the former Barnsley boss could implement a three at the back system which served him so well at Oakwell, which could come as a saving grace for the aforementioned 22-year-old, but for now it appears things are not looking good for O’Shea.