This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Birmingham Live, Rekeem Harper is edging ever closer to committing his future to West Brom.
A number of top academy stars have left Albion in recent years with the likes of Kemar Roofe, Tyler Roberts and Izzy Brown all departing.
However, there is a continuing saga revolving around Harper. The 19-year-old played 23 times in all competitions last term but his future has been in doubt for a while with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.
Things hadn’t particularly progressed throughout the back end of 2018/19 but the club revealed they had offered him a new deal in their retained list.
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Another matter West Brom could look to sort out this summer is the future of Gareth Barry. The 6 ft 1 midfielder was initially released by the club but Express & Star now suggests Bilic is set to take a look at him.
But if Harper does now sign a new deal, would there be any need for Barry? Arguably not.
Despite that, he’s now 38 and shouldn’t really be considered as Albion welcome in a new era.
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Instead, they need to be building their side around players like Harper. Not only would Barry hinder Sam Field’s game time, but a new deal for the seasoned professional would also likely reduce Harper’s impact.
The latter struggled to make inroads as it was last season and if he signs a new deal he will surely be expecting to play a more regular part. With Barry in the team, he wouldn’t achieve that.
Looking at the bigger picture, Harper is someone who could be crucial in the years to come. Furthermore, he’s a player with plenty of resale value.
Barry, on the other hand, has neither. As a result, Bilic must focus solely on new terms for Harper.