West Brom keen to tie Rekeem Harper down to new contract
Albion are keen to tie academy product Rekeem Harper down to a new deal and have opened talks with the teenager.
Harper, who has made four appearances for the Baggies this term, is currently out of contract at the end of the season.
The 18-year-old made his Championship debut off the bench in the 4-1 victory over Leeds before the international break after playing every minute of Albion’s three Carabao Cup matches.
Head coach Darren Moore is a known admirer of the midfielder’s potential, having watched him develop through the academy.
Harper’s exploits this season have earned him a call up to Keith Downing’s England under-19 squad, and the midfielder played 90 minutes in a 3-1 win over Iceland at the weekend.
The Baggies have been nurturing Harper since the age of 11, when he was spotted by youth scout Colin Grigg playing for Silverdale FC in Walsall, less than a mile from Albion’s training ground.
Albion have since converted him from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder, and believe he has a long-term future in the game.
Harper is keen to play games, but the Baggies do not wish to lose him for a minimal tribunal fee next summer.
In January this year, Albion cashed in on Tyler Roberts because the youngster was nearing the end of his contract and sold him to Leeds for £2.5million rising to a possible £4m to facilitate the loan signing of Daniel Sturridge.
Harper faces a battle to work his way into central midfield, where the Baggies have plenty of competition.
They have England internationals Jake Livermore and Gareth Barry, James Morrison has recently returned from injury, and Moore has also played Chris Brunt there this season.
Sam Field, who is two years older than Harper, has come off the bench more regularly than the teenager this season and Matt Phillips played in a central role against Leeds.
Harper went on loan to Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers last season but struggled to cement his place in a competitive side that eventually won promotion from League One.
Rangers were interested in taking him on loan in summer as a bargaining chip in a potential deal for right-back James Tavernier, but the deal fell through.