West Bromwich Albion are battling to stop Kyle Bartley leaving the club this summer with Premier League rivals Newcastle United and Crystal Palace keen on the veteran centre-back, as reported by the Birmingham Mail.
When you consider Bartley was a regular fixture at the heart of the top flight’s worst defence last season – the Baggies conceded 76 goals in 38 games – you may be confused why the Midlanders are so determined to retain the former Arsenal and Leeds United man.
But while Bartley was far from faultless as West Brom failed miserably to dispel that ‘boing, boing’ reputation, things would have been a lot worse without their 30-year-old man mountain.
His experience and Championship nous could be key too at a club looking to ensure its return to the second tier is little more than a flying visit.
Will West Brom defender Kyle Bartley move to Newcastle or Crystal Palace?
Last week, The Telegraph reported Newcastle and Burnley were keen to offer Bartley a fresh start in the top flight.
With just one year left on his contract, it’s understood West Brom may have to consider offers in the region of £3 million.
The Baggies won’t let Bartley go without a fight, however.
He captained the club 13 times last season and, according to the Birmingham Mail, a West Brom side that recently appointed Valerien Ismael as manager is determined to keep hold of a man whose know-how and presence in both boxes could make a big difference this season.
Former Albion coach Jimmy Shan once labelled Bartley a “natural-born leader” (Express & Star).
Newcastle are still in the market for defensive reinforcements despite tying Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar and Paul Dummett to new deals.