West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke has a first option on a permanent deal for forward Yassine El Ghanassy in the summer despite allowing him to leave the club on loan.
El Ghanassy, 22, has been given permission to move to Dutch club Heerenveen until the end of the season after struggling to make an impact in his first season at The Hawthorns.
Clarke hoped the former La Louviere man would become an integral part of his squad this season after signing him on a 12-month loan from Belgian side AA Gent.
But El Ghanassy has been limited to just three appearances this season, all of them in cup competitions, and Albion's coaching staff recently said he had struggled to come to terms with the demands of top-flight English football.
Clarke had believed the Belgium international could play a vital role over the second half of the season, but the return of Jerome Thomas from a loan spell with Leeds has prompted a rethink.
Albion have been given permission by the winger's parent club to loan him to Heerenveen but have retained their option to sign him permanently at the end of the season.
“Due to the team’s progress this season, Yassine has found first-team chances hard to come by,” Albion’s sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said.
“We feel it is in everyone’s best interests to allow Yassine to go out on loan and get some games under his belt.”
Albion will continue to monitor El Ghanassy for the remainder of the season before making a final decision on whether to go ahead with a permanent move over the summer months.