Northern Ireland's Jonny Evans to become WBA's top earner with bumper deal
Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans has opened talks with West Bromwich Albion over a new £75,000-a-week contract that would make him the highest earner at the Premier League club.
Evans, who was man of the match in Northern Ireland's 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw with the Czech Republic on Sunday, is set to agree terms on a new deal despite having three more seasons to run on his current agreement.
His new deal would put him into the top bracket of earners at the Hawthorns alongside new summer signing Nacer Chadli, Salomon Rondon and James Morrison as manager Tony Pulis aims to secure the defender's services for the foreseeable future.
The 28-year-old joined West Brom from Manchester United at the start of last season for £6million and has since become a prominent figure in the heart of the Baggies' defence.
During the summer transfer window, Evans was linked with fellow Premier League side Arsenal. However, Pulis declared that the centre-back would only be sold for the right price before valuing the Northern Irishman at £25million.
The Gunners went on to sign Germany international Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia for £35million but with Arsene Wenger still seeking to improve his defensive stocks, West Brom are determined to prevent him from making a bid for Evans in January by offering him the new deal.
It is just reward for the Belfast man, who has excelled over the past year both with his club and on international duty for Northern Ireland where he has become a vital member of Michael O'Neill's squad.
Pulis is also believed to be weighing up the option of offering contracts to free agents Momo Sissoko and Marouane Chamakh ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth in order to strengthen his threadbare squad.
Elsewhere, Evans' Northern Ireland team-mate Chris Brunt has returned to training at West Brom for the first time since suffering a knee injury in March.
Brunt was ruled out for six months after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the Baggies' 3-2 Premier League win over Crystal Palace.
It also meant the 31-year-old was unfit to participate at Euro 2016, causing him to miss Northern Ireland's first major tournament in 30 years, although he did travel with the squad to France.