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Steve Bruce keeps door open for Matt Clarke to make West Brom return

Albion boss Steve Bruce says he is ready to 'wheel and deal' as he works to strengthen his squad over the next few weeks.


And the 61-year-old also hasn't ruled out former loanee Matt Clarke making a return to The Hawthorns.

Bruce landed two of his key transfer targets last month when the Baggies swooped to bring in John Swift and Jed Wallace.

He is understood to still want a right-back, central midfielder and striker with Leicester's Hamza Choudhury and Villa's Cameron Archer loan targets. But the boss knows he has to get players out in order to balance the books.

And he says he's got some big decisions to make over the coming weeks.

"We’ve got to do a little bit of wheeling and dealing," Bruce said.

"That was always on the cards.

"We’ve still got a long way to go, but we have our principal two main targets.

"Now the Premier League is starting, usually they take the young ones with them, assess them, see where they are and if they want to let them out (on loan) again.

"Then there’s always a mad scramble, but we’ll see.

"My phone has never stopped for our young players to go out on loan, which is good news, so we’re just weighing that up, what is the best option for them and their careers.

"There are lots of big decisions for us to make in the next two, three, four, five, six weeks."

Meanwhile, Bruce won't rule out making a move for Clarke this summer.

The Baggies are overstocked at centre-back with Semi Ajayi, Kyle Bartley, Dara O'Shea, Cedric Kipre, Kean Bryan and Caleb Taylor all on the books.

But Clarke was arguably Albion's best player last season after joining on a season-long loan from Brighton.

And Bruce hasn't ruled out the 25-year-old returning to The Hawthorns if he can move a few players on.

"We’ve got to be respectful to Brighton and what they want," Bruce said.

"They indicated that they wanted to see him in pre-season, to decide on what they wanted to do.

"We’re all spinning the plates. We’ve got to respect Brighton to see what they want.

"They’re only just back in training. We’ll see. But I’m not ruling that out."

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