By George Overhill

16th May, 2022 | 7:10pm

West Bromwich Albion face Middlesbrough competition in chase for Darragh Lenihan

West Brom are “actively chasing” Blackburn Rovers defender Darragh Lenihan but are now facing competition from Middlesbrough, Alan Nixon reports.

The Sun journalist had previously reported that Steve Bruce was interested in adding the Republic of Ireland international along with his then Rovers teammate Joe Rothwell on free transfers.

The 28-year-old has apparently rejected offers from his current club to extend his stay there, and is looking for a yearly salary of around £1million.

With Chris Wilder’s Boro side now also hoping to add the “powerful” defender, Nixon suggests on his Patreon that it will be the player who is “the real winner” with the two teams bidding for his services.

Current Baggies defender Semi Ajayi has just signed a new deal at the Hawthorns, while Kyle Bartley and Dara O’Shea have just a year left of their contracts, as does Kean Bryan according to Steve Madeley on Twitter.

There is also interest in keeping loanee Matt Clarke.

Overhaul

If a bidding war develops between Albion and Boro for Lenihan’s signature it suggests the chances of him arriving at the club next year would be diminished.

But if one or two of the crop of defenders whose deals have little time left to run are moved on then it would free up a proportion of the wage bill.

If small fees could be brought in also that would give the club more ammunition in the chase for the Blackburn man, as it appears they have a strong interest.

Clarke could be the one to miss out as he isn’t a free transfer, unless Brighton could be convinced to agree a deal that ties payment heavily to club performance.

It would be a shame to have to let him go after he was the fans’ selection for the club’s player of the year award, and Bruce rates him.

But with money tight there are going to have to be sacrifices made somewhere, and if it isn’t possible to shift others then the Baggies will have to miss out on the likes of Clarke or Lenihan.

In other West Brom news, the Wolves reported at the Premier League Cup final shared an incredible image following the final whistle to show what it meant to the home fans.

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