By Danny Wright

14th Jul, 2021 | 7:10am

West Brom complete deal for Brighton defender Matt Clarke

West Brom have announced on Twitter the signing of Matt Clarke from Brighton and Hove Albion on a season-long loan deal.

The 24-year-old defender has agreed to join the Baggies having spent the last two seasons on loan at Derby County in the Championship, making 77 appearances for the Rams.

The central defender, who came through the youth ranks at Ipswich Town, before a spell at Portsmouth, will add depth to Albion’s options at the back and is likely to play a key role in their attempts to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Plethora of riches

Clarke will likely have been promised a starting berth by West Brom, but he will compete with Kyle Bartley, Semi Ajayi, Dara O’Shea and Cedric Kipre for a position this season, in what is an impressive range of centre-half options for a Championship side.

Baggies’ manager Valerien Ismael preferred a three-man defence while at Barnsley last season and with West Brom expected to play a similar way, Clarke’s experience in such a system at Derby County brings obvious benefits to his acquisition.

Albion will need all the options they can get in what is expected to be yet another gruelling Championship season, but Clarke seemed keen for the test upon his arrival.

“I’m really excited for the challenge,” he told the official WBA website.

“As a player you play football to achieve success and this is a club which is looking to bounce straight back to the Premier League.

“I want to give my all to help Albion achieve success this season.”

It is hoped Clarke will tighten up the leaky West Brom defence which conceded an alarming 76 goals last season at a rate of two per game as Ismael’s new-look side begins to take shape.

In other West Brom news, Kevin Phillips wants this teenager to break into the Albion first-team.

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