West Brom pursuing a permanent transfer agreement for Matt Clarke is not a foregone conclusion due to the plethora of centre-backs Steve Bruce has available to him.
Clarke has impressed this season on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, making 32 Championship appearances in central defence in a difficult campaign for the Baggies.
The Athletic report how both West Brom and Clarke are open to discussing an agreement beyond this initial loan.
Despite that, though, there’s no guarantee that West Brom will pursue that agreement for the 25-year-old, with The Athletic explaining that is down to the fact that Bruce has so many options at centre-back.
Kyle Bartley, Cedric Kipre, Semi Ajayi and Dara O’Shea are all options in the heart of defence, whilst other senior players and youngsters have shown capabilities to step into a back-three.
However, it’s also noted that West Brom might look to move players out to accommodate a potential move for Clarke.
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Clarke, 25, is yet to make a competitive appearance for Brighton since arriving at the club from Portsmouth ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
Brighton first loaned Clarke to Derby County for back-to-back campaigns, where the centre-back impressed and made 77 appearances in the Championship.
That prompted a move to West Brom for this season, with the Baggies’ season drifting towards a mid-table finish now. Bruce’s side sit 13th on 61 points.
Clarke has proved himself to be a very, very capable centre-back in the Championship, whether that’s with Derby or West Brom.
What’s worth noting is that his three campaigns on loan away from Brighton have all been testing for different reasons, with Clarke never really offered the chance of a promotion push.
That only underlines the quality he’s got and should fuel the belief that he would be a good long-term signing for the Baggies.
Right now, it’s not clear whether or not that will be the case, but you feel it should be.
Bruce might need to move a couple on to make room for Clarke and finance his arrival, though you’d think that would be one of the summer’s more straightforward decisions.
Thoughts? Let us know!