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West Brom in advanced talks to sign Premier League centre-back

West Brom are reportedly in advanced talks to sign central defender Matt Clarke from Brighton this summer.

The Baggies, who were relegated from the top flight last season, look set to swoop for the 24-year-old, as new boss Valerien Ismael looks to build a squad capable of winning back promotion at the first attempt.

Football Insider claims that Albion are the frontrunners to sign the player. That is after Sheffield United initially emerged as a viable option.

The Seagulls are looking to make a potential £1million profit on Clarke. The defender arrived at The Amex from Portsmouth for £3.9m in 2019.

Clarke has spent much of the last two years on loan at Derby, with his current Brighton contract running out in 2023.

The player could actually quit Brighton without ever playing a first-team game for the club.

His imminent departure is expected to be followed by the more high-profile exit of Ben White in the coming weeks.

The England man is set to go on his holidays after going all the way at Euro 2020. But White is reported to be in favour of a switch to north London, although Brighton are asking for a sizeable fee.

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Ismael expects major West Brom exits

Meanwhile, Valerien Ismael admits he expects two of the club’s best players to quit the Hawthorns this summer.

The 45-year-old believes he will have to mount a promotion challenge without both Sam Johnstone and Matheus Pereira after the Baggies were relegated from the Premier League last season. Goalkeeper Johnstone and forward Pereira were the two stand-out performers despite Albion’s dismal season as they finished second bottom.

Johnstone – linked with Arsenal and West Ham – is currently away with England ahead of Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final with Denmark. Pereira, meanwhile, is back in training with the Baggies but Ismael is not preparing to work with them for long.

He said: “It’s not a secret, Sam Johnstone and Matheus Pereira are the two players who can leave. It’s my expectation they will leave.

“I don’t need the best players, I need the right players and even if they leave we will find the right solution.

“After I signed I had some video calls with all the players and it was the first time I spoke with Matheus, we spoke openly about the situation.

“I don’t have a problem. It’s very simple, you are in or you are out. But, if you are in, you are 100 per cent.

“At the minute he is 100 per cent focused and I can’t say anything else.

“We will see (with Johnstone). As soon as he’s finished (at the Euros) we will see.”



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