West Brom to hijack Hull's deal for Manchester City defender

Reports have emerged that West Bromwich Albion are close to signing Manchester City free agent Joleon Lescott.

Albion have stolen the lead in the race to sign the 31-year-old centre-back, after reports from SkySports yesterday were claiming that a deal with Hull City was very close to being finalised.

With West Brom coming in with what seems like a last minute offer, the English defender appears to have opted for a move back to the midlands where his career began with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Reports coming out of The Express & Star claim that the defender is back from his holiday today and will have his WBA medical tomorrow before putting pen to paper on a two-year deal at the Hawthorns.

Lescott's decision to join the Midlands club is likely to have been heavily influenced by the fact that he has worked with some of the Albion back room staff before.

Baggies assistant manager Keith Downing was the youth coach at Wolves when Lescott was coming through the ranks, and soon-to-be Albion coach Rob Kelly also coached the England international at Wolves.

Recently appointed West Brom manager Alan Irvine has received widespread criticism from the club's supporters, his announcement was a surprise considering Tim Sherwood was thought to be a shoe-in for the job.

Provided the Lescott deal goes through, it might silence a few of his early doubters who thought that the relatively unknown manager would not be able attract the players that the club need, in order to avoid a relegation battle similar to last season.

Joleon Lescott joined Manchester City from Everton in August 2009 in a reported £22 million deal. The 26-times capped former England player made 160 appearances for the reigning Premier League champions, but fell out of favour last season and was allowed to see out his contract.

Irvine and Lescott will be hoping his history with Albion's arch rivals Wolves will not spark any negative reactions from the Baggies fans. Although that's unlikely considering eight-years have passed since his Wolves days, also his ability, experience and winning pedigree should weaken any opposition.

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