Albion midfield prospect George Thorne is set to join Watford on loan later this week to continue his recovery from serious injury.
The 20-year-old is fit again after eight months away from first-team football to recover from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Thorne, who with Saido Berahino is one of the club’s outstanding hopes to complete the journey from academy to Premier League regular, now needs senior game-time to complete his recovery.
And head coach Steve Clarke has struck a deal with his old Chelsea pal Gianfranco Zola to give Thorne just such an opportunity at Vicarage Road.
The Championship club’s playing style is just the ticket for Albion and Thorne is thought to be ready to agree a three-month loan initially.
He has previously shone in loan spells with Portsmouth and Peterborough before breaking into Albion’s Premier League plans early in the year – only to suffer the major setback in a 2-1 defeat at Everton.
The 20-year-old midfielder’s rehabilitation programme has been completed while he is back on the pitch now having played in this week’s Under21 fixture against Reading as well as some behind-closed-doors games.
But Clarke wants first team football for him now and could not have a better moment to fix him up with Watford with Albion currently boasting so much depth in midfield even Chris Brunt, James Morrison and Graham Dorrans couldn’t get a game on Sunday.
Meanwhile the Baggies are retaining an interest with Premier League rivals Fulham and Southampton in the Ipswich left back Aaron Cresswell.
Speculation is mounting that the 23-year-old will be the subject of another transfer tussle when the January market opens.
Albion have been on the trail of Cresswell and Cresswell’s current form is unlikely to have cooled their interest – the ex-Tranmere Rovers defender has the most assists of any player in the top five leagues in English football.
Three came in the 4-4 draw at Derby last week, a match in which he also scored.