Slaven Bilic has held talks with West Brom outcast Cedric Kipre amid speculation that the centre-back could be sent out on loan in January.
According to the Birmingham Mail, the 23-year-old could be allowed to leave The Hawthorns on a temporary basis in the next transfer window to earn first-team minutes elsewhere.
Since joining the Baggies from Wigan in September, Kipre has made just two appearances, with both of them coming in the Carabao Cup.
Bilic hasn’t handed Kipre a Premier League debut yet, nor has the West Brom manager named the Frenchman in any of his matchday squads since the 3-3 draw against Chelsea in September.
Now, Bilic has confirmed he has held discussions with Kipre and is impressed by the former Motherwell centre-back’s approach to training.
However, the Croatian has made it clear there are other players above the 23-year-old in his pecking order at The Hawthorns.
“I spoke with Cedric recently. He is training really good,” Bilic said, as quoted by the Birmingham Mail ahead of Albion’s clash against Sheffield United. “He played a couple of cup games, he is there, but it is a pecking order that we have.
“We have Branislav, we have Dara, Ajayi, Barts, we have Peltier, and we have Cedric. We have a number of players in there. I told him to be fit. He is training really good, he is a great guy. He is fit, he is focused.
“He is a good player. You never know with the form, with the situation with the virus, and injuries, you never know. You have to be ready. That’s what you have to do, and then wait for the chance.”
We get that West Brom need to add some strength in depth to their squad in the summer but with the club working on a tight transfer budget, they really couldn’t afford to waste money on players who weren’t going to be in Bilic’s first-team plans.
According to the Express & Star, Albion paid £900,000 for Kipre when he joined from cash-strapped Wigan.
While that is only a small sum of money, it just seems as though the Baggies sign Kipre for the sake of it and not because he was going to play a role at the club.
Even with Ahmed Hegazi leaving and Branislav Ivanovic testing positive for COVID-19, Kipre has failed to break into Bilic’s matchday squad in the Premier League.
And the fact that Bilic has mentioned Lee Peltier as someone above Kipre in the pecking order rings alarm bells for us.
We get the feeling that Kipre was a signing made by Luke Dowling and not by Bilic.