Championship

West Bromwich Albion: Slaven Bilic persuaded star to remain at the Hawthorns this season

West Bromwich Albion: Slaven Bilic persuaded star to remain at the Hawthorns this season

Slaven Bilic persuaded young star Rekeem Harper to remain at the Hawthorns this season, the Croatian manager has revealed.

Bilic revealed that he had multiple talks with the youngster about staying at West Bromwich Albion despite the fact his contract had run out at the club.

The news comes amid speculation surrounding the future of Oliver Burke, who after featuring in the first three games of the season, hasn’t played a single minute since.

According to the Express and Star, there is a possibility that the 25-year-old could be loaned out abroad, however, Bilic has said he is planning for him to stay.

Harper played a bit-part role at the Hawthorns last season, playing in just 13 league starts. However, he has shown his ability in a few of the games.

His performances saw him linked with many big clubs in the summer, with Tottenham Hotspur and Celtic among the outfits reportedly interested in signing the youngster.

Indeed, his ability on the ball showed in a key Championship fixture last season against promoted Norwich City. Harper started the game in central midfield in a 4-3-3 formation and completed 83.3% of his take-ons (via Total Football Analysis).

His ability on the ball is further backed up by the number of dribbles he averaged last season, 1.2, which was the fifth-highest at the club (via WhoScored).

He clearly has a decent amount of technical ability on the ball, which suggests that Bilic was right to keep a hold of him this summer. Harper had the second-highest pass completion rate in the Championship for West Brom. This showed his ability to retain possession of the ball when compared to more experienced central midfielders like Jake Livermore and Chris Brunt, who averaged less (via WhoScored).

Harper has great ability as shown last season, and it’s a blessing he is remaining at West Brom this season.

How big a boost is this for West Brom? Join the discussion by commenting below… 

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