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…
West Brom will be needing to ramp up their transfer business as they aim to get their squad ready for the start of the season as they target a return to the Premier League.
One position that West Brom are thought to be aiming to add to during the transfer window is at the heart of their defence. According to The Sun, the Baggies have joined the race to sign Brighton defender Matt Clarke this summer who could be available following his return from a second loan spell with Derby County.
It is believed that the defender could be available for a fee of around £5 million this summer. While it has also been reported that Sheffield United are interested in the defender with the Blades potentially looking for a replacement for Kean Bryan if he leaves.
With West Brom now in the race for Clarke, we take asked our FLW writers if they believe it would be a good addition for the Baggies…
Matt Clarke has been a consistent performer for Derby County across a couple of rotten years for the club.
He plays with a maturity that makes it look ridiculous that he is only 24 years old and possesses all the attributes needed to excel as a Championship centre-back.
Technically speaking, he is one of the best in the division. He always wants the ball and is more than comfortable at receiving possession in tight spaces. Clarke also has the physicality and aerial prowess to match, and not many forwards get much joy up against him.
It is surprise to see Valerien Ismael being an interested party. West Brom conceded the most goals in the Premier League last year, and whilst their defensive option seem strong on paper, Clarke would only bolster their back-line.
Another season performing well in the Championship would surely be enough to help the 24-year-old breakthrough at Brighton.
The higher or lower West Brom transfer fee quiz – can you get 20/20?
This would be a very good signing for West Brom.
You would imagine that Ismael wants at least one new centre-back and identifying a left-footed player would be ideal, so Clarke fits the bill in that sense.
As well as bringing a balance to the team if the boss wants to go with a back three, Clarke is also a very good player. Despite Derby’s struggles last season, he was one of few standout players and he has proven in the past two years that he can be a top Championship defender.
So, for £5m, which seems a fair price for a 24-year-old in today’s market, this seems like a no-brainer for Albion and it would be as good a signing as they could realistically make.
I think this would be an excellent signing for West Brom if they are able to pull it off.
With Kyle Bartley being linked with a move to the Premier League this summer, it could be hard to hold on to the 30-year-old, and that will mean the Baggies will need to add an extra option in the centre of their defence.
Clarke would be an a really useful option for them to do that with, given his performances on loan at Derby at this level showed he is more than capable of competing in the Championship, with his physical presence making him a hugely challenging proposition for Premier League strikers.
Indeed, with another of those who are likely to be competing for Championship promotion this season – fellow relegation sufferers Sheffield United – also reportedly keen on Clarke, it would feel as though the Baggies have thrown down a real marker of their intentions if they manage to win the race for the 24-year-old.
With that in mind, it does seem as though a deal for Clarke is something that would be well worth pursuing for those in charge at The Hawthorns.