Birmingham City have already spent £12million in the transfer market so far this summer but they are still looking to strengthen their squad ahead of the new Premier League season.
Coming off their best ever Premiership finish, the Blues are trying to make sure they avoid the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ that has hit several clubs in the past.
New owner Carson Yeung promised cash to spend and so far he has put his money where his mouth is, quite literally. Alex McLeish bolstered his forward line with the £6million signing of 6’8’’ Serbian giant Nikola Zigic prior to the World Cup. Zigic, 29, had a slightly disappointing World Cup but has a wealth of experience and joins from La Liga outfit Valencia. McLeish seems intent on adding another striker to his pack to compliment Zigic. Fabrizio Miccoli looked set to be heading to St Andrews until second thoughts from McLeish regarding the Italian’s fitness scuppered the deal. Bobby Zamora has also been linked and Fulham rejected a £6million bid last week.
Another position which McLeish was quick to solve was goalkeeper. Joe Hart had a fantastic year between the sticks last season but his loan deal expired at the end of the season and he returned to parent club Man City. With the prospect of signing Hart on a permanent basis looking extremely slim, McLeish decided to look elsewhere. He didn’t have to look far though as he turned his attentions to Manchester United stopper Ben Foster. Big Eck moved swiftly and signed the former England ‘keeper to a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £6million.
As with any transfer window, there are always plenty of names being banded about in the media. Especially in a World Cup year where unknown players suddenly burst onto the scene. One signing that did go unnoticed was the capture of Spanish midfielder Enric Valles. Valles, 20, joins Birmingham from Dutch side NAC Breda and looks a promising talent. That adds another Spaniard to the Blues’ squad after the January signing of fellow midfielder Michel.
With plenty of time left until the start of the season there is no reason for panic from Birmingham fans. Deals for certain players will obviously be put on hold until after the World Cup. With the giant Zigic already signed and Birmingham lacking wide players who can consistently get good crosses into the box, McLeish will surely be looking to resolve that issue in the coming weeks. Wigan Athletic’s Charles N’Zogbia looks out of reach due to Wigan’s valuation and Celtic’s Aiden McGeady has again been mentioned in passing.
With most holes filled, the biggest worry has to the left-back position. With the releases of Franck Queudrue and Gregory Vignal, the only recognised left-back in the squad is David Murphy. Liam Ridgewell covered the position superbly last season but will surely be wanted to cover at centre-back this season. Fulham’s Paul Konchesky remains McLeish’s favoured option but until their manager situation has been resolved it looks unlikely that the deal will go any further.
With three bodies already added to the record breaking squad and the possibility of a few more, Birmingham fans can look forward to another enjoyable season where they should yet again be sitting comfortably in mid-table come season end.