When Aston Villa raided West Brom for academy manager Mark Harrison and then snapped up head of academy recruitment Steve Hopcroft a few months later, some Baggies supporters claimed there was something wrong behind the scenes at the Hawthorns.
And, just to rub salt into the wounds, you’d imagine Harrison and Hopcroft are at the heart of a deal that would see perhaps the most exciting young player in West Brom’s academy make that short trip down the M6 too.
According to the Birmingham Mail, 18-year-old Tim Iroegbunam is set to complete a move to Aston Villa just six weeks after being named the Baggies’ 2021 academy player of the year.
The all-action midfielder was expected to make his senior debut under Valerien Ismael this season – he made the bench for the first time against Leeds in May – but it seems as though he’ll undertake the next stage of his development in claret and blue instead.
Why are West Brom losing Tim Iroegbunam to Aston Villa?
And if this isn’t the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the poor old dromedary is certainly suffering from a nasty case of lumbago.
An alarming – and ongoing – inability to retain their most exciting academy prospects has been a common complaint among West Bromwich Albion supporters for a while.
Iroegbunam looks set to follow in the footsteps of Izzy Brown, Nathan Ferguson, Morgan Rogers and Louie Barry (himself now at Villa following a spell at Barcelona).
Whether Iroegbunam is making the right decision is up for debate. The Great Barr-born teen will have the highly rated Jacob Ramsey and Carney Chukwuemeka for competition at Villa Park after all.
But, for West Brom fans, the impending departure of another exciting teenage talent is a matter for serious concern.
Here’s what some Baggies supporters on Twitter had to say about the situation: