Express & Star

Okay Yokuslu in talks for West Brom return

Okay Yokuslu has held talks with Albion about a sensational return to the club, the Express & Star understands.

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The Turkish international became a free agent at the beginning of the month after his contract at Celta Vigo was terminated by mutual consent.

Yokuslu shone for the Baggies in the Premier League after joining on loan from Vigo during the 2019/20 season.

And his release from the Spanish side led to fans hoping he would make a dramatic return to The Hawthorns.

Speaking after Albion’s pre-season win over Leyton Orient, manager Steve Bruce said the club would not be moving for Yokuslu this summer.

He said: “He was a very good player, he didn’t play a lot last year – if I’m being brutally honest I think that ship might have sailed.”

But it’s understood since then, Yokuslu has significantly lowered his wage demands in the hope of securing a return to The Hawthorns.

The central midfielder has won 39 international caps for Turkey.

But with the exception of his time at The Hawthorns, his career has stuttered over the past few years.

Yokuslu struggled for game time at Vigo and made just five starts while on loan at Getafe last season.

But there is a general acceptance his game is more suited to English football. And his signing will be a seen as a major coup for Albion if, as is expected, they get the deal over the line.

Speaking after the pre-season game against Stevenage on Saturday, Bruce confirmed he was eager to strengthen his options in central midfield.

“The midfield area, I think that’s where we’re short – midfield players,” Bruce said.

“Jake Livermore, who I’ve left alone at Stevenage, he’ll come into the reckoning and then we’ve got (Jayson) Molumby and (Alex) Mowatt – Mowatt has had an operation recently too. We’re wary of that.

“There are not many options in there.”

Alongside Livermore, Mowatt and Molumby, Albion have John Swift who can play in central midfield.

But Bruce hinted he sees the former Reading more in a number 10 role.

The Express & Star understands Albion had been working on a deal to sign Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury on loan.

But it’s now believed Yokuslu’s willingness to drop his wages has made him the number one target when it comes to central midfielders.

Albion had hoped to get a few players out before making further additions to their squad.

But it is believed they feel they can’t turn down the chance to sign Yokuslu on the reduced terms he wants.

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