West Brom youngster Rekeem Harper completed a loan move to Birmingham on Thursday, and Luke Dowling deserves credit for the deal.
The 20-year-old has spent much of the last two years on the fringes after a breakthrough season in 2018/19.
He has joined Blues until the end of the campaign and has the perfect opportunity to display his talent and show he has what it takes to play for Albion.
After all, we may be playing Championship football next season.
Harper can use this time to build on the early promise he has showed and prove to Slaven Bilic and Sam Allardyce that he should have been used more.
The move to Birmingham provides multiple reasons for optimism, too, as Dowling may have found the ideal club for the midfielder.
Firstly, Harper will not have to change location given the distance, meaning he doesn’t have to undergo a resettling period.
That should allow him to quickly adjust to his new surroundings and perform strongly right away.
In addition, he knows Birmingham player Jonathan Leko since they came through Albion’s academy.
Birmingham boss Aitor Karanka could take Harper under his wing, too, having got the best out of young players like Ben Gibson, Matty Cash and Ben Osborn previously in his career.
All three have gone on to play in the Premier League football after being coached by Karanka, so hopefully the Spaniard is able to progress Harper’s game to a similar level.
The Albion academy graduate must step up and begin taking responsibility, however.
This could be his first opportunity for a regular run in a senior side, and it will be for a team looking over their shoulder at relegation.
He should, therefore, gain an understanding of how vital every win is, and that will stand him in good stead for his Baggies future.
There are multiple factors that make Birmingham a good club to join, and if Harper can play his part it will prove an astute piece of business by Dowling.
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