According to a report in The Sun on Sunday’s print edition (January 19th, page 65), several Championship clubs are interested in signing West Brom starlet Rekeem Harper on loan.
It’s claimed that Leeds United, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Charlton Athletic want to take the 19-year-old temporarily for the remainder of the season.
Harper signed a new three-year contract in the summer taking him to the end of the 2021/22 campaign but has been limited to six minutes worth of game time in the Championship this season.
His performance in the Baggies’ FA Cup third-round victory over the Addicks sparked praise from manager Slaven Bilic, although, he left his immediate future open to interpretation.
He said: “If we think about him and only him, then a loan could help him, but I have to put the club first.”
Tonight, Albion have an opportunity to go four points clear of their nearest title challengers Leeds United, and eight clear of the playoffs.
That’s if they can see past Stoke City at the Hawthorns.
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The last thing they need to do before January closes is to strengthen a rival club, especially as promotion is no foregone conclusion.
It would be a devastating blow if Leeds or Fulham were to close the gap because of the influence Harper made in their midfield, or even worse, scored the winner that clinched them the title or second place over the Baggies.
However, there’s no denying that the young prospect needs regular match experience otherwise his progression will stall, so it may be a wise move to send him somewhere like Charlton, where his performances won’t have any influence on their quest for the Premier League.
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Harper can fill the void left behind by Sam Field’s injury at The Valley. Bilic will quite simply be playing with fire if he sanctions a move to any of the other clubs in the promotion hunt.
And in other news, here’s how West Brom could line up next month after three new additions…