West Bromwich Albion journalist Joseph Masi has said West Brom vice-captain Kyle Bartley is set to be heavily involved in Valerien Ismael’s side next season, in the Baggies Broadcast podcast.
Bartley, 30, had been linked with a move to Premier League sides Newcastle United and Crystal Palace but despite the recent loan arrival of Brighton defender Matt Clarke, Masi believes he will be a big part of the club’s plans for the foreseeable future.
Trevoh Chalobah and Kean Bryan have also been subject of interest from the Baggies as Ismael looks to bolster his backline ahead of the new season and with the 30-year-old also set to stay, they could end up having one of the best defences in the second tier when the transfer window shuts.
20 questions about some of West Brom’s biggest ever moments in their history – Can you score full marks?
The vice-captain made 30 top-flight appearances last term and as the new season approaches, he will be competing with new signing Clarke, Dara O’Shea, Semi Ajayi and Cedric Kipre for a spot in central defence.
Whether Ismael utilises the latter after his loan spell in Belgium earlier this year remains to be seen but with Ahmed Hegazi’s departure to Saudi Arabia and Branislav Ivanovic being released in the summer, Bartley’s chances of retaining a starting spot look promising.
Speaking about the 30-year-old on the Baggies Broadcast podcast, Express and Star reporter Masi said: “From what I understand, Albion are determined to keep him really.
“There is an issue that he’s only got one year left on his deal and at the end of the day, everyone does have a price.
“I mean, if someone comes in and offers silly money for him, then obviously he leaves, the same as anyone else, but from what I gather, Albion are very much expecting Bartley to be at the club next season and he’s firmly part of Ismael’s plans for next season.”
This latest news from Masi will be a relief for West Brom fans who could view the presence of Bartley on and off the pitch as the key to promotion next season.
With a new style of play and a few more arrivals set to come in before the end of August, it’s vital the Baggies have someone like the 30-year-old to provide the continuity needed to settle players down and hit the ground running in just a few weeks as they approach the new campaign.
If a tempting bid does come in, the West Midlands side could potentially re-invest this money into a replacement.
But considering the experience and ability Bartley has, they may be better served offering the centre-back a new deal with the club in a reasonably stable financial position.