According to a recent report from The Leicester Mercury, Leicester City manager Claude Puel admits that his ‘priority’ is for winger Harvey Barnes ‘to remain’ on loan at West Brom. The 20-year-old made the move to the Hawthorns back in the summer in a bid for the regular first team he was unlikely to get at the King Power Stadium this season, and he has so far been an absolute revelation for the Baggies.
Yet reports suggest that Foxes chief Puel is happy for the Englishman to remain at the Hawthorns in the second half of the season, despite speculation linking him with recalling the 20-year-old, which is an admission that is absolutely in the best interests of all parties involved, not least Barnes himself.
Ultimately, the 20-year-old was always likely to struggle for game time at Leicester this term despite the departure of Riyad Mahrz during the summer, what with the likes of Demarai Gray, close season signing Rachid Ghezzal, and Marc Albrighton seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order.
Yet he has since produced the goods on loan at Darren Moore’s West Brom in scoring five goals and laying on two assists in 13 Championship games for the Baggies, two goals of which coming in his last three appearances for the club.
Thus, for Barnes to be delivering in the notoriously difficult Championship was always likely to stimulate some speculation about a possible recall come January, but why change something that is clearly working for the 20-year-old, but also Leicester as well?
The England Under-21 international is playing the regular football he sought during the summer and is clearly full of confidence in readily contributing to a side near the top of the second tier, while Leicester are utilising the loan system to good effect in giving him the chance to develop, a chance he simply wouldn’t have at the King Power Stadium.
Ultimately, the Foxes would have wanted Barnes to be scoring the goals and laying on the assists he currently is when he made the move back in the summer – prompting speculation about a recall after his first good run of form isn’t how the loan system should work.
And while he would return to Leicester and give manager Puel another option down the flanks, he simply isn’t going to play as regularly for the Foxes as he currently is for the Baggies – his development would thus be hindered.
So for Puel to admit that ‘it would be better for him to continue at West Brom’ is undoubtedly the right call, and thus very much in the best interests of all parties involved.
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