The West Bromwich Albion hierarchy will have some interesting decisions to make as the season draws on with no fewer than 11 players out of contract at the end of the campaign.
One of which is Baggies stalwart Kyle Bartley, who has often been a favourite and first-choice under Slaven Bilic since his appointment last summer.
Upon his £7m arrival from Swansea City in 2018, the 29-year-old penned a three-year deal on wages thought to be around £28k-per-week, as per Salary Sport, which is £13k more each week on what he was earning at the Welsh outfit.
Bartley started 37 of Albion’s 46 matches on their way to promotion last season, where he averaged 4.9 aerials won, 4.5 clearances and 1.3 tackles per game, via WhoScored.
The former Arsenal academy graduate was dropped for the first time this season in their last outing and Bilic’s bold gamble paid off as his side picked up their first clean sheet of the campaign.
He has shown signs of regression with the Baggies’ move into the top-flight, managing fewer aerials won (1.8) and tackles (0.3) per match, which is one sharp drop off in form.
It speaks volumes that West Brom were without a clean sheet until he and Semi Ajayi were out of the side.
In fact, he has never really impressed at this level of football having last enjoyed a taste of Premier League life at the Swans, between 2012 and 2016. Bartley has played just 25 times in the Premier League and it’s easy to see why.
The ex-Leeds colossus ranks as the third-worst amongst Bilic’s squad of anyone who has featured in three or more games, averaging a rating of 6.25 – both Branislav Ivanovic and Ahmed Hegazi recorded 6.93 or better against Burnley, per WhoScored.
It would be reasonable to think that Bartley could be in line for an extension, given the fact that he has regularly featured under the Croatian, and without him, the Midlands outfit would be light on options.
However, keep him for the season and do not offer that extension. It would be an unforgivable nightmare from Luke Dowling if he were to sanction such a deal.
AND in other news, West Brom suffer blow as “gifted” warrior ruled out for several weeks…