Former Derby County Man Set For Championship Move

Former Derby County goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith is close to a move to West Bromwich Albion, according to talkSPORT journalist Alex Crook.

The 28-year-old left Pride Park this summer after two seasons at Derby, helping the Rams to promotion back to the Championship in the 2023-24 campaign after two terms in the third tier.

Prior to his time in Derbyshire, Wildsmith started his career at hometown club Sheffield Wednesday, but his career at Hillsborough never really took off. After loans at Alfreton Town and Barnsley, he made his debut at Wednesday in 2015 and went on to make 89 appearances in South Yorkshire over seven years.

The goalkeeper had to contend with a range of different managers during his time at the club, meaning he was often in and out of the team. Wildsmith often found himself playing second or third fiddle to the likes of Keiren Westwood and Cameron Dawson, which saw him decide to leave the Owls at the end of the 2021-22 season for Derby.

Wildsmith made 97 appearances during his time at the club and now appears set to follow Derby in returning to the Championship, albeit with a different club.

The shot-stopper’s time in the East Midlands looks to have caught the eye of Albion boss Carlos Corberan ahead of the new campaign, and his signature would mark the club’s third signing of the summer after Ousmane Diakite and Torbjorn Heggem.

It is likely, however, that if Wildsmith joins the Baggies it will be as a backup. The club currently have keepers Alex Palmer and Josh Griffiths on their books, with Palmer acting as first-choice last year. This seems unlikely to change unless either keeper moves away from West Bromwich, so this transfer would demote Wildsmith to the second – or even third – choice role he occupied before his move to Derby.

Writer’s View

This is a strange move for Wildsmith, but a great one for West Brom. They’re gaining an experienced EFL player to act as a backup but also push the club’s current goalkeepers, which may take them to another level. As for Wildsmith himself, this would be a return to sporadic football after a consistent spell of first-team minutes at Derby, but the pull of a strong-looking Baggies side may be too much to turn down.

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