Now the season is coming to an end it’s inevitable that thoughts turn to who may be coming or going during the summer. Until the elusive accounts turn up we can forget about people joining so let’s look at who may go and who we must try to hold on to. Of course the most important of our “Crown Jewels” is our manager who I really hope isn’t swayed by the few Premiership options available. I can’t see Villa appointing another Blues boss so the only options are West Brom and Wigan if Roberto Martinez chooses to move on. We’ll just have to wait and hope.
Of the players the key man for me is Chris Burke who won our player of the season award by the largest margin ever. He has been involved in most of our goals and looked heartbroken after the semi-final so you can see what playing for us means to him. At his age he may not attract a top club but he may well interest those clubs relegated or promoted this season. He would be very difficult to replace and will be needed if we are to make a promotion challenge next season.
In defence Curtis Davies has gone from being someone thought to be “a bit dodgy” to a rock at the back. He also weighed in with a few goals scoring our first and last of the season. He’s still relatively young for a centre back so we can expect clubs at the lower half of the Premiership to come calling. Depending on our finances it may be difficult to hold on to him although he hasn’t said anything in the last week to make us think that he wants to move on. His defensive partner David Murphy is another who has improved this season so the news that he has extended his contract is very welcome indeed.
Other players that will attract interest are our younger players Nathan Redmond and Jordon Mutch. Both have been in and out of the team a lot recently and have shown that they still need to develop further. It would be best for both of them to stay at St Andrews for another season as I can see them both starting more games next year. Of the two Redmond has been getting more press so would command a good fee if it is necessary for us to cash in. An honourable mention should also go to Keith Fahey who went from being the most booed player to the most missed player in the space of six months. I hope he stays, we really could have done with him against Blackpool.
Of those likely to leave I don’t expect many of the loan signings to make permanent moves. Andros Townsend’s future will depend on Harry Redknapp but Erik Huseklepp will be available as a free signing from Portsmouth. Whether we are able to snap him up depends on how long our transfer ban remains in place. Guirane N’Daw switched between being a colossus to a liability in midfield in equal measure so a permanent move is in the balance. Like last year we’ll be spending all summer trying to find someone to take Nikola Zigic from us which should be easier as he’s not injured this time. I do like the big man but his contribution isn’t enough to justify his wages in the Championship.
So while it’s a bit depressing to be talking about exits again we won’t be looking at the same fire sale as last year. If I could keep only one of the above mentioned players it would be Chris Burke. Keeping the manager and sorting out the finances should be top of Peter Pannu’s to do list for the next three months though. It’s going to be a long summer.