I think we all know the big news of this weeks roundup as Blues were able to make last seasons loan deal with lifelong Bluenose Gary Gardner a permanent move. It’s a cracking deal that’s seen Blues offload one of our largest under-performers as well as clearing our largest wage bill.
Gardner has already spoken since about his ambition to help get the club back into the Premier League and a personal ambition of adding a few more goals but, and this is the bit I picked up on the most, he’s been given a job by the gaffer and that’s what he intends to do. This mentality is what helped Blues have such an impressive season against the odd last season so it’s great to see there’s a desire to play as a team again with many fans daring to dream next season again now.
Jota’s departure ended up leaving a bit of a bitter taste, not because of the departure itself as I don’t think too many fans will miss Jota who has flopped since arriving at St Andrews, instead it’s the lack of acknowledgement to the club or fans. To me I feel like Jota has revealed a poor trait, he’s barely made an effort when put on the pitch, sat there and collected his wage then buggered off to the next pay cheque having no interest to put the effort in or get on board the Band of Brothers mentality. A fickle player for a fickle club.
The next bit of news is the Che bid, Southampton have returned following up their interest in January and offered £8m for the striker who bagged 22 goals last season. The bid was rejected with Che valued at at least £15m if not £20+ by some fans, especially in the current market, with Blues also expected to keep him unless an offer of obscene proportions comes in.
I think we all knew it was going to be a summer of clubs linked with Che and the list of interest seems to grow every week, so far we have Southampton, Burnley, Sheffield United, Leicester, Newcastle and Everton but I’m sure there will be more added to that list before the end of the summer. It’s clear Che is featuring in Monks plans so I do feel as though we will see him in a Blues shirt again next season in all honesty, although that could just be wishful thinking.
Next, it’s no secret Blues will most likely be in the market for a keeper this summer. Camp has done a fantastic job between the sticks but isn’t the greatest of keepers so the other day I saw a story suggesting that Bluebirds back up keeper Alex Smithies could be heading to St Andrews in a loan deal, frustratingly though I didn’t send myself the link and now can’t find anything on it but with the vile making a bid for Cardiff’s current goalkeeper I can’t see them letting Smithies make the loan switch anywhere, at least until Etheridge’s future is known.
One of the more outlandish links I’ve seen is Blues being linked to Genk target Paul Onuachu. Genk have offered FC Midtjylland 35m Danish Krone for the striker but have been told they’ll have to fork up 70m Danish Krone to be in with a chance of getting his services, Blues have then been brought into as a club interested in the front man but this seems unlikely. It could be he’s on the radar in case we do sell Che but to be actively pursuing the frontman I think is a bit off the mark.
There is a suggestion with this one that he has instead been offered to Blues by FC Midtjylland and Brentford owner Matthew Benham. Benham will no doubt be hoping Blues sell Che and reinvest £8.3m in Onuachu but as the player has apparently expressed a desire to play in the Champions League it’s likely a move to Blues would be against what he wants himself, which of course isn’t the kind of player the club need or want.
Blues also managed to get professional contracts signed by Mitch Roberts and Caolan Boyd-Munce. Roberts is a centre half and has been tied down to a one year contract with injury concerns no doubt one of the reasons for it being just 12 months, Boyd-Munce is described on the club site as an “energetic box-to-box midfielder” and has been signed for two years.
Finally, I saw somewhere that someone (Bang on reporting here coming with all the facts) was preparing a bid for Jutkiewicz. I can’t find anything further on this and personally don’t think it’s likely to be the case, I’d also hope that Blues would look to retain his services as much as Che’s as last season I think the 36 goals between them only happened because of each other, we saw Juke start off on fire and when he cooled down Che popped up. We also have 10 assists from Juke but once Che fell off a bit Juke came back to the forefront in finding the net.
This weekend the Bearded Brummies take on the Brindley Place Dragon Boat Race for Cure Leukaemia, click on the below image to find out more and please donate to a good cause!