Steve Bruce recently revealed his plans to dip into the loan market as he looks for more recruits this summer, telling the Express and Star: “We’d like to do a couple more. We knew the market. Loans and frees are where we are at.”

One position West Bromwich Albion could do with strengthening is at centre-back after Caleb Taylor and Cedric Kipre were loaned out to Cheltenham Town and Cardiff City respectively. Bruce has been left with Semi Ajayi, Dara O’Shea and Kyle Bartley while Kean Bryan recovers from a long-term injury.

One defender they signed on loan last season was Matthew Clarke and he was their most consistent performer. His future at Brighton was uncertain due to his contract having a year to run and him not having made any appearances for the Seagulls since joining in 2019, so West Brom did register interest earlier this summer.

Clarke had been loaned out to Derby County (2019/20) (2020/21) and West Brom (2021/22), so Albion were hoping he’d be available again, but it appears Brighton might be playing the 25-year-old this season.

Clarke played 45 minutes in Albion’s 0-0 draw with Royale Union on July 9, played 30 minutes in their 4-1 win over Estoril on July 16, played 20 minutes in West Brom’s 2-1 win over Reading on July 23 and played a full 90 minutes in their 1-0 defeat to Brentford on July 26, so he appears to have a future at the Amex Stadium.    

West Brom knew it was ambitious from the get-go, but they will have to turn their attentions elsewhere.

In other news, Steve Bruce could start Alex Mowatt if Jake Livermore misses Middlesbrough clash