Championship side West Bromwich Albion are set to announce the signing of ex-Sheffield United centre-back Kean Bryan today, according to the Express and Star.
Bryan, 24, has been without a club since the start of July after continuing to stall on a new deal at Bramall Lane amid interest from elsewhere, with Middlesbrough, Watford, Fulham, Swansea City and the Baggies all previously reported to be monitoring his situation.
No clubs, including Sheffield United, have managed to get a deal over the line for the central defender up until this point, but Valerien Ismael’s men look as though they have won his signature for the remainder of the campaign and potentially beyond that depending on the length of his contract.
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This move from the Championship side comes after the injury Dara O’Shea sustained on international duty for the Republic of Ireland last Wednesday and according to the Birmingham Mail, his ankle is still heavily swollen after limping off in the first half against Portugal.
The extent of his injury is not yet known, although he is due to see a specialist when the swelling finally goes down.
This latest blow comes amid Matt Clarke’s absence, with the Brighton & Hove Albion loanee set to remain on the sidelines for the next month and leaving Kyle Bartley, Semi Ajayi and Cedric Kipre as their only options in central defence as it stands.
For a side who operate with three at the back, this is a huge blow but they now look set to add another man in Bryan to bolster their ranks, with The Telegraph’s John Percy reporting that the 24-year-old had completed his medical yesterday.
Looking at the other options Ismael’s side could pursue in the free-agent market, this is probably the best option to go for and at 24, he could potentially become a long-term signing at The Hawthorns if this move works out.
How much game time he will get when the likes of Clarke and O’Shea return remain to be seen, with both previously guaranteed starters, but the latter could potentially be out for an extended period of time so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former Sheffield United man get a decent amount of game time under his belt.
Although you may not tip Bryan to start over Bartley and Ajayi, he will probably make the starting lineup for the upcoming game against Millwall on Saturday afternoon ahead of Cedric Kipre.
However, that will depend on the imminent signing’s fitness after spending over two months without a club and considering he will only have a few training sessions to learn his new manager’s system before this clash against Gary Rowett’s men, he could potentially find himself on the bench at the weekend.
This is why it may take him a short while to settle in – but this is certainly a shrewd addition for the Baggies on a free transfer and will go a long way in solving the major issue the second-tier side currently face at the back.