West Bromwich Albion manager Darren Moore has admitted that Oliver Burke could be made available for loan in January, with the young winger having struggled for playing time since his return to England. Burke left RB Leipzig for West Brom in 2017 due to a lack of minutes in Germany, but he finds himself in an identical situation at the Hawthorns – having made only two Championship appearances this season.
Albion paid around £13m and agreed a five-year deal with Burke, so it’s unlikely the 21-year-old would be sold so soon. But Moore could let the Scotland u21 international leave on a temporary deal to a side in the Championship or League One if it will get Burke regular minutes. As per the Express and Star, the Albion said: “I’m looking at both aspects. I want him to be ready for us of course, but we’ll have a look at it.
“We wanted to put Oli on a training regime where he’s playing a volume of games. It’s important that Oli gets more than bit-parts in games, he needs to get match fit. We’ve utilised the under-23s to give him that strength, robustness and fitness to maintain over 90 minutes. By playing in those you get tougher, and he’s getting there at the moment. He’s scoring goals and we’re keeping a close eye on him.”
Burke made 31 appearances in all competitions for Forest between 2014 and 2016, scoring and creating nine goals before his move to Leipzig. He’s been linked with a return to the City Ground, potentially as a replacement for Joe Lolley who is rumoured to be a target for Albion, Watford and Cardiff City. Burke wouldn’t be the same player that left two years ago, however, as he’s been short of match sharpness and confidence.
Time will tell what Karanka does in January, but he’ll be delighted to know that Burke is available.