Nigel Reo-Coker, Kieran Richardson and Martin Cranie have all been training with West Brom this summer as Baggies boss Darren Moore looks to add to his squad ahead of the start of the Championship season.
All three trialists appeared in the recent 3-1 friendly win over Swindon, with Cranie impressing the most. The 31-year-old was released by Middlesbrough this summer after moving to the Riverside Stadium in January and playing nine times in the Championship.
Having already signed Kyle Bartley from Swansea in a relatively cheap £4m deal, Moore seems to still be in the market for a centre-back following the release of Gareth McAuley and sale of Jonny Evans to Leicester already this summer. Craig Dawson has also been pushing the club for a move to Burnley.
The West Brom boss has also been linked with Leeds centre-back Pontus Jansson by Swedish outlet Expressen in recent weeks. However, securing the 6ft tall Cranie would mean that West Brom could spend their money elsewhere and still be left with strong options – Cranie, Bartley, Ahmed Hegazi and their impressive 20-year-old Jack Fitzwater – at the back, with Dawson also not certain to be leaving.
Jansson is valued at £5.4m by Transfermarkt and, like West Brom, Leeds are light on defensive options so it would take a big bid to convince Whites’ owner Andrea Radrizzani to sell. With more potential departures from the Hawthorns including Salomon Rondon and James McClean, Moore would be wise to spend the money elsewhere.
At 31 years old, Cranie also has more to give than the other two trialists and has looked fitter than ex-Aston Villa midfielder Reo-Coker and Richardson, who was a member of the famous Baggies great escape squad in 2005.
Back-up to Kieran Gibbs is needed but his namesake Richardson is no longer at the level to feature in a promotion-chasing Championship side. Cranie should be the only one of the trio to be handed a contract but securing his signature could be fantastic business for Moore.