West Brom's Chris Brunt poised to make Stoke move
Stoke are in pole position to sign Chris Brunt when the Albion legend bids farewell to the club next month.
The Northern Irishman is immensely popular with Baggies supporters for the outstanding service he has given the club over the past 13 years.
But it was revealed last week that Brunt’s time at The Hawthorns will come to an end when his contract expires following the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign.
Having featured just eight times for Albion this season, Brunt came close to joining Stoke back in January – only for the move to collapse at the last minute when the Potters failed to offload Bruno Martins Indi.
But the Express & Star understands the Championship side are keen to add the 35-year-old to their squad for next season.
It is understood talks have taken place over Brunt being offered a 12-month deal with the option of an extra year depending on how many appearances he makes.
Blackburn Rovers – managed by former Albion boss Tony Mowbray – are also believed to be keen on Brunt. But it’s Stoke who are in the driving seat with Brunt expected to join the Championship side this summer.
The midfielder has previously said he is settled in the West Midlands and would rather not uproot his family – with his son an Albion fan. The Potters are also managed by Michael O’Neill, who Brunt played under for Northern Ireland.
And speaking following the failed move to Stoke back in January, Brunt said he is keen to team up with his countryman once again.
“Obviously there is an easy link there with Michael being Northern Ireland manager,” Brunt said. “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I enjoyed playing under Michael.
“He got some of the best football out of me in my career – 100 per cent internationally, but definitely football-wise as well.”
Meanwhile, Albion technical director Luke Dowling said Brunt acted with the utmost professionalism when he was told his contract at The Hawthorns wasn’t being extended.
“It was a difficult conversation because with the lockdown we have had, and with Chris coming out of contact, I was wary of when to talk to him,” Dowling said. “We wanted him to be focused on the last nine games. But we also wanted to give him respect – we didn’t want to just get to the end of the nine games and say thanks very much.
“ I had a chat with him at the beginning of last week. He wasn’t surprised and took it like a true professional.”