West Bromwich Albion loaned out Rekeem Harper to Birmingham City and Sam Field to Queens Park Rangers in January as both players struggled for playing time this season, but they have both made an impact at their respective Championship clubs.
Harper has featured in four of Birmingham’s last five games (Transfermarkt) while Field scored on his QPR debut, so one Baggies fan asked Steve Madeley of The Athletic why West Brom allowed the promising duo to leave once again rather than develop them at The Hawthorns. The journalist replied:
Quite simply, successive head coaches haven’t thought those players were ready for the first team, especially in the Premier League, but the club believed they had enough potential to possibly deliver in the future.
So, loaning them out brings in some money from loan fees and saves on wages without losing the ‘asset’ permanently, and it gives the players more time to develop.
This season, Harper made four appearances and amassed 211 minutes of playing time (Transfermarkt) before his loan move to Birmingham while Field made five appearances and had 239 minutes of game-time before QPR came knocking.
Jake Livermore, Romaine Sawyers and Conor Gallagher have been preferred in midfield, while the arrivals of Robert Snodgrass, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Okay Yokuslu in the January transfer window would have limited their opportunities further.
Madeley did suggest that Harper and Field have ‘potential’, so the pair may have a better chance of playing for their parent club if West Brom are in the Championship next season.
READ WEST BROM VERDICT
It’s a damning indictment that Harper and Field have been on the periphery despite West Brom’s struggles this season, so they could still have a fight on their hands for a future in the Midlands.
It is crucial that they both put their respective loan spells to good use if they are to nail down their places in the Baggies’ plans rather than keep being farmed out to gain experience.