West Brom opinion: Bringing Mason Holgate is a no-brainer for the Baggies
According to the Daily Mail, West Brom are exploring the possibility of bringing Mason Holgate back to the Hawthorns for a second successive loan spell this summer, with the report claiming that the Baggies have already made an enquiry about re-signing the Everton youngster.
Holgate made only 5 appearances under Toffees manager Marco Silva in the Premier League in the first half of the previous campaign before moving on to join West Brom on loan in January.
The 22-year-old immediately established himself as one of the mainstays of the club’s backline under then-manager Darren Moore and retained his role under caretaker boss James Shan until the end of the season, making a total of 23 appearances to propel the Baggies to the semi-finals of the EFL Championship Playoffs.
West Brom lost out to Midlands rivals Aston Villa in the semi-finals but Holgate won a lot of plaudits for his impressive displays at right-back, scoring once and assisting a further four goals in 21 Championship outings.
And, as the story goes, the Baggies are keen to have him back as a part of their promotion-push next season, with new manager Bilic reportedly looking forward to working with the talented youngster (h/t Daily Mail).
Holgate found himself surplus to demands at Goodison Park last season and whilst that could change next term if the Toffees do not manage to seal a permanent deal for Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma before the deadline, the 22-year-old might have his head turned by the prospect of more regular minutes at the Hawthorns.
The former Barnsley man settled down really well in the Championship at the Midlands club last season and played a pivotal role in their surge for promotion, so he might relish the opportunity to do the same next term as well.
Currently a U21 international for England, Holgate has made a total of 48 appearances for the Toffees since completing a move to Goodison Park from Barnsley back in the summer of 2015 but he has so far failed to nail down a regular starting role.
Holgate’s tender years and stiff competition for places in the ranks at Everton have been the primary factors behind that. The youngster has somewhat struggled to cope with the frequent managerial changes at the club in recent times. That, however, might change now that Marco Silva is at the helm of affairs.
To put things into perspective, any follower of West Brom who had watched the Baggies play in the Championship last season would probably know that Holgate was one of the most impressive performers towards the end of the campaign.
The 22-year-old not only spiced things up at the back with his energy and youthful exuberance but he also brought a lot of stability to the backline with his sensible approach and composure.
In fact, West Brom had the right kind of balance between youth and experience in their defensive ranks last season and Holgate held his own more often than not.
The Baggies have lost the services of long-standing influential centre-back Craig Dawson to Watford this summer. Tosin Adarabioyo has also returned to Man City upon the expiry of his loan spell, meaning that they are currently light in their options at the back.
Bilic has brought in Semi Ajayi from Rotherham United to fill in the void, however, one cannot help but feel that the Baggies might struggle to achieve that same level of stability at the back next season with too many new faces in their ranks.
Kyle Bartley and Ahmed Hegazi are experienced enough to hold things together in the absence of Dawson but it is a no-brainer that Holgate’s return would be a massive boost to the Baggies, as they look to reinvigorate their promotion challenge next season.
Looking at things from another perspective, West Brom still have plenty of holes to plug even after signing Ajayi, Krovinovic and Zohore and bringing Holgate back for another loan spell could save them some valuable funds, which, of course, would help them strengthen other areas of the squad.
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Keeping all these factors in mind, it should be an absolute no-brainer for West Brom to go all out in their pursuit of the 22-year-old versatile defender this summer, albeit the authority ultimately rests with Everton.