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Have a feeling – Slaven Bilic discusses Karlan Grants chances of West Brom debut – Birmingham Live

Have a feeling – Slaven Bilic discusses Karlan Grants chances of West Brom debut – Birmingham Live

Slaven Bilic is relieved and delighted in equal measure to be able to welcome Karlan Grant to West Brom – and indicated that the forward’s inclusion for the visit of Burnley on Monday is in the balance.

Striker Grant, 23, agreed a six-year contract when he joined from Huddersfield Town on Thursday, but he is yet to kick a competitive ball so far this season.

But with Albion’s forward department currently hit by injury and expected unavailability through Covid, plus the departure of Kenneth Zohore on deadline day, Bilic might need to consider selecting his new acquisition – even if it’s just for a place on the bench.

Grant trained with his new teammates on Friday and Bilic was able to get a good look at him close up for the first time, but he is wary of his situation.

The fact that the Baggies have a full weekend could swing matters in Grant’s favour.

“He has not played a lot of football,” Bilic said. “He trained [at Huddersfield] but he didn’t train with a group so it’s one of those where we have to find a balance as soon as possible.

“At the moment we have trouble in the striker position – but we can’t risk his long-term performance.

“You have a feeling from the numbers that, from the sports science guys, but them most important thing is how does he feel.

“Friday morning he trained with us, he looked good, he looked sharp, but we are going to see. The good thing is that we play on Monday which gives us a couple more days to see him – but we will see.”

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Like Matheus Pereira, Semi Ajayi and Grady Diangana, and to a lesser extent Cedric Kipre this summer, Grant fits the mould of Albion’s long-term recruitment plan.

They’ve targeted players who are affordable, of an age where they’re deemed to have the majority of their career – and so their best years – ahead of them and who are tipped to have significant re-sale value in the future.

Bilic pointed out that, on Grant’s part too, this isn’t a ‘stepping stone’ move – Grant has agreed such a deal because he sees his own long-term future at The Hawthorns. It also represents the faith the club have shown in the player.

“He is a young player, at 23 he is a good age, Bilic explained. “But he has some experience, even in the Premier League.

“The six years shows how much we believe in him and it shows from him that he doesn’t see us a step to something else but as the club for his long-term future.”

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