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Opinion: Why Steve Bruce may regret not strengthening in this position at West Brom after his recent comments



West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Bruce has revealed he wouldn’t be too disheartened if he didn’t add more options in central defence between now and the end of the summer transfer window, speaking to the Express and Star.

At this stage, the 61-year-old only has four senior options in this area but one of those is Kean Bryan, who remains out of action as he continues to recover from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Considering he sustained this setback during the early stages of last season, you would probably expect him to be back at around this point, though different players can take varying times to recover from an injury as severe as this.

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St Andrew's?

This is the first reason why Bruce should be looking to improve his centre-back options – because it’s currently unclear when he will return and there are no guarantees he will be as good as he was before being ruled out of action.

With this injury, it will be crucial not to rush him back into a game situation and the Baggies won’t have to if they have a sufficient number of options at their disposal.

One saving grace is the fact Bruce has switched to a back four and that will reduce the number of centre-backs he needs at the club – and there are two clear long-term starters that can be identified in Dara O’Shea and Semi Ajayi – both of whom have signed new contracts recently.

However, Kyle Bartley’s contract expires in 2023 and it’s currently unclear whether he will sign another extension in the West Midlands.

With this, Cardiff City loanee Cedric Kipre could come in to fill his spot for the 2023/24 campaign and even then, Caleb Taylor would be fourth in the pecking order as things stand when he returns from his temporary spell at Cheltenham Town next year.

And there’s even a chance Kipre could move on permanently next summer, so there could be a first-team spot available for Taylor at that point even if another central defender comes in for the long term this summer.

Bruce doesn’t even need to bring in a long-term addition in this area if he doesn’t want to, with the former Newcastle United manager still having five loan spots he could fill.

In fairness, it could be difficult to agree a loan deal with some clubs for some of their young defenders because they will want their youngsters to get as much game time as possible, something Albion may not be able to guarantee with O’Shea and Ajayi as potential starters.

Alternatively, they could also minimise costs by exploiting the free-agent market, with the likes of Michael Hector and Alfie Mawson still available at this stage. Hector would be a particularly good option with the ex-Fulham man having plenty of experience in the top two tiers of English football.

There are affordable options out there and some may even be happy just to play a small role at The Hawthorns during 2022/23 and beyond, so they would be fools not to recruit at least one centre-back before the transfer window closes.

A 22-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts this summer, with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Why Steve Bruce may regret not strengthening in this position at West Brom after his recent comments

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