Rekeem Harper’s contract extension at West Brom is surely looking like one strange decision.
The 20-year-old can’t be happy with his lack of playing time since signing fresh terms last summer. It was one of the first piece of business that Baggies manager Slaven Bilic made following his appointment.
Since that day, Harper has played just 16 times, four of which were starts in the Championship whilst he’s not been seen in the Premier League since a 21-minute cameo on the opening day.
Prior to signing on the dotted line, the Albion academy graduate was attracting the interest of top-flight duo Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur as well as Serie A giants Juventus, as per the Mirror.
That’s three major teams that wanted the youngster on a free transfer yet whatever Bilic told him was enough to convince him to stay and fight for a place.
Following the arrival of Conor Gallagher from Chelsea and the late return of Filip Krovinovic, both on loan, Harper could well find it harder to stake a claim amongst the senior set-up.
Thus, he should look to force through an loan exit during the January transfer window, so that he can go out and catch Bilic’s eye – very much in the same way Sam Field did at Charlton Athletic last season.
If he wasn’t currently injured, he’d be way more involved as the only out-and-out defensive midfield option at the club.
“Rekeem is one of the players who has made the biggest progress since lockdown, and before lockdown as well,” Bilic told the Express & Star in July. “Rekeem had started to play really well, he had started to train consistently – power, movement, tactics, stamina, skill, everything. He’s becoming more and more mature. I never denied that I love him as a player – I love those kind of players, who are powerhouses but can pass the ball, that’s great.”
If that’s the case, then just why hasn’t he been utilised more often? As mentioned, Albion lack real power in the engine room.
Even Tony Pulis spotted his potential back in 2017, claiming the starlet has “got all the tools to be a player.”
It’s on Harper himself, go out on loan and impress Bilic or quickly become the club’s next Sadio Berahino – a homegrown talent with bags of potential that was never fulfilled at the Hawthorns.
AND in other news, West Brom must not offer £7m LIABILITY a new contract…