St Andrews’ boss knows his onions.
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As the dust settles on the most bizarre and unreal Transfer Deadline Day, most football fans look at the signings of Dzeko, Carroll, Torres and Suarez and numerous pages of analysis will be written regarding these transfers. But the side that can look at their signatures during January and take complete satisfaction from them should be Birmingham City.
Birmingham’s problems this season has been simple, not enough goals. The summer signings or Alexander Hleb, Matt Derbyshire (both on loan) and Jean Beausejour have not worked and St. Andrews has been deprived of goals, resulting in only two wins and seven draws at home this season, when last year this figure would have read the opposite way around. Whilst Cameron Jerome will always put a shift in for McLeish, he will never be the predator finisher people hoped he would become when he signed from Cardiff. However, Obafemi Martins may be the answer. However old the Nigerian is, he is a goal scorer. A ratio of one in three for both Newcastle and Inter Milan despite injuries or being played out of position or off the bench shows he does have the goal scoring knack. Martins searing pace and powerful shot also make him a valuable asset for the Midland’s side. Everyone remembers that goal against Tottenham, that sort of genius may well keep Birmingham up.
David Bentley was never given a chance at Tottenham. Now, as the big fish in a small tank once again, he can show the form of his time at Blackburn. His delivery is still a superb asset for any side. His goal against Coventry also proves he has, like Martins, that moment of genius in him, which will have to shine for Birmingham to survive. Coupled with Bentley’s arrival is Birmingham keeping hold of Nikola Zigic. Although not pleasing to everyone, Zigic’s best asset is when the ball is crossed in the air. Seeing Bentley sending crosses in will delight the Serb who may yet justify his £6 million transfer fee.
Scott Dann’s injury is a massive blow to Birmingham, along with Johnson he has been a rock for eighteen months. Arguably the pair are the best English players Capello hasn’t called up. His replacement, Curtis Davies, can step into Dann’s shoes. His spell at Villa has stalled the prospect of a possible England international. Davies has a point to prove, and if he can slot into Dann’s shoes, the Birmingham will very quickly pull away from trouble.
McLeish clearly identified where the team needed improvement, and has brought in quality players for little money. That is what the January transfer window is for, and it is pleasing to see a hint of intelligence and sensibility in the Premier League.