With Rekeem Harper joining Birmingham City on a season-long loan, West Bromwich Albion are left with only Conor Gallagher, Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers in central midfield.

Sam Allardyce is short on cover in case of injury, which may be why Albion have reportedly shown interest in the likes of Ben Pearson, Olivier Ntcham, William Carvalho, Ozan Tufan, Clement Grenier, Hamza Choudhury, and Okay Yokuslu. Adding to that list, the Daily Mail claimed that West Brom are now ‘monitoring’ James McCarthy.

The 30-year-old has an uncertain future at Crystal Palace as he has been short of playing time this season and is out of contract in July. Albion aren’t blessed with vast funds so McCarthy should be a cost-effective option, but according to the Daily Mail, they’ll have to battle Celtic, Burnley, West Ham, Brighton and Bournemouth for his signature.

McCarthy has amassed only 423 minutes of Premier League football in 2020/21, making just three top-flight appearances since October, and finds himself behind Luka Milivojevic, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Jairo Riedewald and James McArthur in the midfield pecking order at Selhurst Park.

READ WEST BROM VERDICT

It seems unlikely that McCarthy would agree a contract extension and he should therefore be a free agent in a matter of months, so surely Palace would be open to a sale this month rather than letting him leave for nothing.

All that remains is whether the Republic of Ireland international would choose Albion over the likes of Celtic, Burnley and West Ham. Given the lack of depth in West Brom’s midfield, Allardyce could do with a proven Premier League operator (263 top-flight appearances) like him.