West Brom will be faced with a tough situation at the end of the season.
£15m flop Oliver Burke, who was signed by ex-manager Tony Pulis, will return to the club following his loan spell at La Liga outfit Alaves and it is safe to say it has hardly been inspiring.
The 22-year-old is still under contract in the west Midlands for another two-and-a-half years, yes, he really is.
Burke is the only first-team player currently exiled from the senior fold, a move current boss Slaven Bilic made after just three appearances at the start of the season – he clearly saw enough from those 127 minutes of action.
He has gone on to play 18 times in La Liga this campaign but has managed just one goal and one assist, averaging only 0.6 shots, 0.1 key passes and one dribble per game, via WhoScored.
In Alaves’ big ties against Real Madrid and Barcelona, Burke failed to make an impact as a substitute, recording a highest rating of just 6.20 – no player in the West Brom squad that has started a league game this term has an average rating as low as that.
Last month, Bilic also bolstered his attacking options by bringing in two more wingers in the form of Sheffield United loanee Callum Robinson and Hull City’s Kamil Grosicki.
There’s now a wealth of riches at his disposal with Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips, Matheus Pereira and Kyle Edwards his other options – even Jonathan Leko when he returns from his injury and at a push, Hal Robson-Kanu.
It seems hugely unlikely now that he will be able to break his way back into the plans of Bilic, especially if they earn promotion to the Premier League as he was deemed not good enough for the second-tier.
The only problem is the fact that he’s still under contract, and given his recent performances, the Baggies aren’t going to recoup that club-record eight-figure fee anytime soon.
At this rate, they’d probably be happy to just get him off the wage bill and gone forever.
And in other news, West Brom have no option in one STAR’S loan deal, claims Steve Madeley…