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…
Fulham manager Scott Parker is looking to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window, with a move for West Brom midfielder Rekeem Harper being considered, according to the print edition of the Sun on Sunday (January 19, Page 65).
The Cottagers will face competition in the race to sign the 19-year-old though, with Leeds United, QPR and Charlton Athletic all reported to be interested in the youngster who has made nine appearances for the Baggies U23’s so far this season.
So would Harper be a good signing at Craven Cottage and is he needed by Scott Parkers side?
“This would be a pointless signing.
“You can’t imagine for a second that West Brom would entertain doing a deal with a promotion rival but even if they did, it’s still a move that doesn’t make sense.
“Fulham are well-stocked in the middle of the park with the likes of Harry Arter and Stefan Johansen not in the XI for the previous game.
“So, there’s no way Harper gets into the team straight away and any move he secures this month has to be about playing regularly and that won’t happen at Craven Cottage, so he needs to resist a move to Scott Parker’s side and find a club that will make him a regular.”
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“Harper has been unlucky to play barely any football for West Brom this season, but he remains a player that the Baggies rate highly, and one who could better another Championship side on-loan for the remainder of the season.
“Fulham have made full use of the loan-market this season, and whether they could sign another on-loan player is unknown. But if they can make their way around whatever rules and regulations that they may need to, Harper would be a solid signing for them.
“The likes of Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen have had the central roles at Fulham on lock-down, but neither have really set alight the Cottage. Both could do with some more solid, youthful competition and Harper would provide that and then some.
“Extra numbers are always needed and Fulham are no different. I can see Harper playing a good amount of football under Scott Parker, and I can see the ex-England man getting the best out of the 19-year-old.”
“Fulham have now started to show strong signs of closing the gap on West Brom in the top two following their win over Middlesbrough, and this means the Baggies could be making a mistake by sending Harper on loan to them this month.
“Harper could enhance his development by picking up more game time at Craven Cottage, but this should not be prioritised over West Brom’s promotion push, with Harper then potentially helping to jeopardise the Baggies’ top-two hopes.
“The Cottagers would certainly benefit from another midfield option given their firm promotion push will require depth during the remainder of the campaign, but I don’t think they should put too much effort into signing Harper.
“The fact he has only made one appearance for West Brom this season suggests they have not deemed him good enough to feature regularly for a promotion-challenging side, and I’m unconvinced he is any better than what Fulham already have.”