Martin Kelly’s solid performance in Crystal Palace’s 3-0 thumping of Arsenal on Monday night should be enough alone to earn the defender a new contract. As it stands, however, the former Liverpool youngster will be a free agent in the summer – and that is an opportunity that West Brom should not pass up.
The Tamworth Herald reported in January that Baggies boss Tony Pulis was mulling over the prospect of bringing Kelly to The Hawthorns. And, if he watched the way Kelly and the imperious Mamadou Sakho restricted Arsenal to just one second half attempt on target, he should not wait around before making his move.
Because Palace boss Sam Allardyce will surely be considering offering the 26-year-old a chance to stay at Selhurst Park on the back of one of the season's most impressive rearguard displays.
Ironically, the one-time England prospect appeared to have fallen out of favour with Allardyce initially, not featuring in the league for three months and even being left out of the matchday squad on occasion.
However, since returning to the starting XI at the start of the month, Kelly has demonstrated the attributes that once made him one of the country’s top defensive prospects. The versatile 26-year-old, naturally a right-back, slotted in at centre-half against The Gunners and performed with typical combativeness.
His reading of the game and positioning were faultless from start to finish. Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott barely had a sniff, let alone a shot.
Therefore, he would certainly be an ideal addition to a West Brom side in need of a long-term replacement for the 37-year-old Gareth McAuley. Pulis, like Allardyce, values adaptability in his defenders.
Though, as long as Kelly continues to perform for Palace, the closer he will get to that new contract.
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