Transfer Activity – A perspective by John Edden

As the clock struck a minute past eleven on Wednesday night, every single Birmingham City fan breathed a sigh of relief – we had survived the transfer window – just! It seemed everybody in the squad had been linked with a move away in the final week of the window; interest came in from Wigan for fan’s favourite Jean Beausejour and usually loyal left-back Liam Ridgewell gave everybody a scare by handing in a transfer request late on Tuesday night. As expected, he was linked with practically every Premier League club on Wednesday but ended up staying at Blues after the club rejected his transfer request.

We weren’t completely free of moves though and as expected Cameron Jerome left for Stoke City for the fee of around £4 million whilst Scott Dann fetched around £7.7million as he moved to Premier League strugglers Blackburn. Both decent players who would have been great assets in the Championship but expected to move all along in the window, joining Roger Johnson, Craig Gardner, Kevin Phillips, Lee Bowyer, Maik Taylor, Martin Jiranek, Barry Ferguson and Sebastian Larsson through the St Andrews exit.

The sceptics are already professing doom around the place as our Carling Cup winning squad – and relegated squad no less, has been dismantled to its very bones but Birmingham haven’t been quiet in bringing people in. OK, we haven’t spent much money but we did fork out around one million to bring in former Barnsley striker Wade Elliot and ex-Albion defender Pablo Ibanez late, late on Wednesday night. The former looks an excellent addition to a squad as he can play comfortably in any attacking position at the front of the park, providing the kind of flexibility that Jonathan Spector was also brought in for. What’s more, Elliot is an out and out Championship striker. Like Marlon King, he knows the division well and will provide the kind of experience we are currently lacking in the final third.

Pablo Ibanez is an interesting signing and following Foster and Myhill’s loan swap, shows that we are developing an excellent relationship with West Bromwich Albion. In fact, with Chris Wood signing another month’s loan deal with us today, we are not far off fielding Albion’s reserve team! Ibanez is an accomplished Spanish international who was greatly admired by the Baggies – to the point where many were asking just why he was allowed to be sold to us! Added to that the signing of Jack Deamen from Wrexham, who will be developed through our reserve team and it seems that Hughton is looking to comprise a squad built up with a healthy balance of experience and youth.

The Premier League names may have left the good ship St Andrews but let’s not forget that many of those players were in the team against Fulham towards the end of last season where we couldn’t muster any effort to take anything out of a crucial game. We are already seeing more attacking play from Chris Burke and starlet Nathan Redmond than we ever experienced under Alex McLeish – we even scored three goals in Europe – I can’t remember the last time we won a game and scored more than twice!

Let’s not forget the players we have locked in the treatment room. Unbelievably we have managed to keep hold of Nikola Zigic and as the transfer window is now closed for all domestic leagues, no loans are available worldwide so we can’t ship him out to Spain to have his wages paid by somebody else. Our league bucks the trend whereby we can loan players but only Championship teams would be able to loan a player from us – no club bar Leicester City could afford to pay Zigic’s high wages so until January, he remains a Blues player.

After Dann’s rumoured injury that saw him mysteriously pass a medical at Blackburn, we receive news today that Marlon King is close to a recovery from injury – a partnership between Zigic and King would instil fear in any defence in this division and with the hard work ethic of Rooney and the potential of Wood, not to mention Elliot’s experience, Birmingham for the first time in a long time have what looks to be decent strike options.

Whether or not Ridgewell and Zigic will still put the effort in for Birmingham remains to be seen. I would expect Zigic to continue to put the effort in we saw from him towards the end of last season when we saw him putting himself about a bit and scaring defenders. Zigic certainly has a point to prove that he is worth his £6 million price tag and his high wages so I think he will come good in the Championship. Ridgewell on the other hand hasn’t looked interested all season so should he decide to stop putting the effort in and become a sulker looking for a move away from St Andrews, I doubt we would notice so much. Murphy may have his defensive leaks but is already looking a decent replacement for Ridgewell – he’s even scored for us!

Let the scaremongers continue to tell you Birmingham City have failed in this transfer market but our squad compared to others in the league still looks as good as any. Of course, you could always look back to this time next year when Birmingham fans were getting over excited about the signing of a certain Alexander Hleb….I’ll take Wade Elliot and a squad who want to play for us over forgotten has-beens any transfer market…….


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7 Comments on Transfer Activity – A perspective by John Edden

  1. good summary. Jean B has been a revelation under Chris H – a new Martin O’Connor – credit to Chris H for seeing his potential – thus – he can play on the left or in the middle in the Championship – that gives us more options. We’ve enough raw talent to get into the playoffs – just up to Chris H. to get them all motivated (if – like you suggest – Liam and Zigic need something to get them going in the Championship). Ibanez might be an asset for the European matches – they’ll be tough – but maybe we can then rest some of the Championship stalwarts. I thought we’d be fighting against relegation – but having seen our first halves against Derby, Middlesborough and Watford – where we’ve taken the lead – Chris H’s tactics are spot on – it’s just the team running out of steam and then losing their shape. This is all about being a real supporter – this will be a good season KRO.

  2. you can’t remember the last time we scored more than twice, maybe you have a short selective memory , i remember a certain semi-final at home in Jan??
    though in the league i agree.
    dann was never going to play another game, as we would have had to pay cov another fee based on games played.
    most loans include sharing wages so as well as leicester; cardiff, blackpool, ipswich, reading & west ham could arguably afford to pay 20 to 30 k a week towards his wages.
    like you say ziggy knocking it down for either wood or king sounds good or ziggy with beau and burke working off him.
    him and riggers will need to perform if they want moves in Jan otherwise no one will want them.
    wonder if riggers has been affected by personal probs of wedding cancellation and legal action threats.

  3. Just though i’d point out that Wade Elliott we have signed is a midfielder (a good one at that and very highly rated by the Burnley fans). Anyway I think he will do well for us, he knows the division inside out and think he will be an asset to us as he can play wide or more inside. I do remember being impressed whenever I have seen him play also.

    It will be interesting to see how Marlon King does for us, I think he could add alot to how we play and add a bit more guile,experience and hopefully goals of course to the front line.

    Now the window is over, I hope the squad and Chris Hughton will be alot more settled now he knows what hes got to play around with.


  4. a couple of things spring to mind – where’s McFadden ? Dann was excellent alongside Roger J. – a cool head – Look at Roger J now and Wolves have stopped leaking goals (for the time being) – but remember Joe Hart was by far the busiest ‘keeper in the prem playing behind Roger J and Scott D. Only time will tell how much Scott’s performances were dependent on his partnership with Roger. KRO

  5. Kevin – I read that McFadden has just returned from having an operation in the US and is looking to join a prem club (wolves?). He was released from contract with us at the end of last season although it was all bit hush hush. I saw the lads training down at David Lloyd in Solihull last Thursday – surprised to see big zig there. Old Hughton is a bit of a midget close up – how did he play for Spurs at left back at just 5′ 7”?! I think the new signings have been shrewd – battle hardened pros who can do a job at this level. It’s just Myhill that bothers me. Could be a bit mu(t)ch for us to get in play offs with the European tour so let’s enjoy Europe, watch some good football and give Hughton a couple of seasons to get us back up – no problem. By then the ownership situation will be sorted – no point going up without some money to spend , we would just get a good kickin and come back down again!

  6. Some good points made I particularly agree about the Fulham game where most of them didn’t seem to care, it was a most dreadful performance. We now seem to have a group of players who actually want to wear the shirt. It’s not all doom and gloom and when we get our injured players back we will have a pretty decent squad. Hughton just needs to sort the defence out and stop the silly errors which are leading to goals being scored against us.
    I think we are in for a good season but whether that’s good enough for promotion or the play-offs remains to be seen but lets all get down to Stans and give the team our support. KRO.

  7. Hi Johnners

    McFadden is a free agent as he could not agree terms with Blues in regards to a contract extension. It seems Wolves and Vile are vying for his signature at the moment. Like Jerome, I think it is best for all parties if McFads does move on – he has a rotten time at St Andrews with injuries and although a very skilful and effective performer, he can get a bit lazy in build up play.

    He would be a fine player in the Championship but I suspect there was disagreement in terms of wages. Interestingly enough, I know of a lot of Everton fans who never rated James McFadden but he still has a lot to offer lower league Premiership clubs.

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