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Duo to leave club

PUBLISHED

22:00 21st May 2013

Albion remain in talks with four other players

ALBION have released two players and remain in talks with four others as they begin preparing their squad for the 2013/14 campaign.

The Baggies will not be offering Jerome Thomas, who becomes a free agent this summer, a new contract nor activating their one-year option in Gonzalo Jara Reyes’ deal. Both players are now looking for new clubs.

Steven Reid did not make enough appearances to guarantee his final year, which gives Albion the option to terminate his contract. However, the club are currently in negotiations with the right-back about a new deal.

Zoltan Gera, who suffered a serious knee injury in January, also did not play enough games to trigger his extra year. He will become a free agent on June 30 but the club plan to hold talks with the Hungary international regarding his future as his rehab progresses.

Marc-Antoine Fortune is out of contract and will also become a free agent on June 30. However, the club will remain in contact with the ex-Celtic striker and have not ruled out the possibility of making him an offer to return next season.

Romelu Lukaku, who signed off his season-long loan from Chelsea with a sensational second-half hat-trick against Manchester United on Sunday, is returning to Stamford Bridge.

Goran Popov’s loan from Dynamo Kiev has also ended and Albion plan to hold talks with his parent club before deciding whether to pursue a permanent deal for the Macedonian international.

However, Albion will not be exercising their option to permanently sign their other season-long loan signing, Yassine El Ghanassy, from AA Gent.

Sporting & Technical Director (Designate) Richard Garlick said: “Sunday’s incredible game against Manchester United brought a fitting end to a memorable season and I want thank all of the players for their contribution this season.

“Both Jerome and Gonzalo have played important roles in helping the club reach and stay in the Premier League since joining us four years ago.

“They have found first-team opportunities harder to come by this season and had spells out on loan. They both leave with our best wishes, as does Yassine.

“Steven’s an important figure both on and off the field and we are in negotiations with him about a new deal.

“Zoltan’s situation is a little different in that he is rehabbing from a serious injury. We plan to hold talks with him later this summer and he will continue to have our full support in his efforts to regain full fitness.

“We have not offered Marc-Antoine a new deal at this stage but he remains under consideration as we weigh up all options for next season.

“Romelu deserves all the credit he’s been getting for his fantastic contribution. He will report back to Chelsea for pre-season, as planned, and it will be down to them whether Romelu is made available for loan again, and to whom, next season.

“Goran’s loan has also come to an end and we plan to hold talks with Dynamo Kiev in the coming weeks to decide his future.”

In total, Thomas made 106 appearances, scoring 13 times, for the club while Jara Reyes played 67 times, netting twice.

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