After an underwhelming end to the 2019/20 campaign, Birmingham will want to bounce back in this upcoming season. Clotet’s sacking in July led to a vacancy in The Blues managerial role, and Karanka is the main they have turned to. But now Karanka has had a few weeks to settle in, he will certainly be looking for new recruits to add to his side.
With the likes of Bellingham, Maghoma, Hogan, Camp and Clarke Salter all leaving the club, additions are most definitely needed. There are a few positions Birmingham will need to bolster but we highlighted four: goalkeeper, central defence, wide midfield and striker. These players are chosen based on statistical data, as well as who Blues would likely persuade to join the club.
Steven Benda ~ Goalkeeper
The first player on this list is 21 year old goalkeeper Steven Benda. The German spent last season on loan at League Two side Swindon Town from Swansea City, in which he made 24 appearances for The Robins. Benda impressed massively with his reflexes as well as his shot stopping ability. This has tempted the likes of West Brom to take an interest as it looks like Benda will be playing understudy to Woodman at Swansea come the new season. This gives Birmingham the opportunity to pounce on the uncertainty of Benda’s playing time and offer him consistent first team football. With Lee Camp leaving after a two year spell at the Blues, as well as Connal Trueman being sent out on loan, this has left a gap in the goalkeeping position.
This is where Benda would come in, he will need to be number one to choose The Blues. Birmingham would need to assure him that he would get more game time than at both Swansea and West Brom in order to convince him. A combination of a young keeper with perhaps a more experienced keeper may be a combination Blues could choose. Overall Benda seems a good deal and wouldn’t be expected to cost much at all as Swansea appear to be open to a possible move for him.
Patrick Mainka~ Defender
Next on the list is FC Heidenheim, who play their football in Bundesliga II, defender Mainka. The 25 year old has been outstanding during last season, amassing the 5th greatest clearances in the league with an average of 5 per game. Patrick’s style of play typically suits Birmingham’s too. The Blues traditionally hold two physical central defenders and this 6 foot 4 inch powerhouse certainly lives up to that. Mainka is known for his aerial ability, as well as his short passing as he typically starts attacks from the back. But is Mainka needed at Birmingham?
A central defender certainly looks like a needed addition. Clarke Salter has returned to Chelsea after his loan leaving just three senior centre halves at the club. Mainka would probably step in as a first team regular, with his leadership being a massive part of his game. The fee for the German may also look appealing. FC Heidenheim are only in Bundesliga II so would likely demand a fee no higher than £2 million. Gem Kristian Pedersen also formerly played in Bundesliga II, so Blues would be hoping Mainka could emulate that success.
Randell Williams~ Wide Midfielder
23 year old Randell Williams is another option for Birmingham this summer. The Englishman has spent the last season at Exeter City in League Two after joining on a free transfer from Watford. Williams has made 36 appearances with 14 assists and 5 goals last season, a healthy return for a right back by trade. The left footer is known for his crossing, as well as his precise passing, highlighted by the fact he has produced the 3rd greatest amount of crosses in his league last season. Williams would certainly fit into Blues’ squad too. Karanka traditionally plays defensively so a more defensive minded wide player would be suited to this. Would Williams be a starter for Birmingham?
Possibly, this would depend upon who else could be brought in out wide. Jeremie Bela will occupy the left side with Dan Crowley in the number 10, leaving a vacancy at right wing. But if Blues were to bring in someone such as Albert Adomah then Williams would likely be used as an impact substitute. Price wise Williams would be appealing too. Exeter will struggle to convince Randell to stay should a Championship Blues come in for him so a relatively low fee will be needed.
Rhys Healey~ Striker
Striker is a major position up for grabs at Birmingham. Since Adams departed last summer, Blues have struggled to fix down a partner for Lukas Jutkiewicz. Villa loanee Scott Hogan appeared to be that replacement but an underwhelming end to the season places his Birmingham return in doubt. This is where 25 year old Rhys Healey could come up trumps. The MK Dons forward scored 11 in 18 in League One last season. He has also made 10 appearances for Cardiff City in the Championship over the past few years, so understands the style of the division. Healey’s traits of play are also suited to Birmingham. Physicality, potent finishing as well as technical dribbling are all elements of Healey’s game. Ultimately, the Englishman knows where the goal is and that is something Blues have missed recently. But if he was to join, what will Healey cost?
Healey would be an affordable price. The reality is clubs in the lower leagues are struggling financially with no ticket funding so Blues may be able to capitalise on this. It also appears Healey may also be open to a move too. MK Dons only avoided relegation by 5 points last season so if Birmingham did come knocking then the 25 year old would likely be interested.
Other transfer targets:
- Nathan Baxter~ The Chelsea under 23 goalkeeper spent last season on loan at Ross County in the SPFL, making 13 appearances. Baxter is 21 and has impressed the likes of Blues and Derby. This deal looks like it could go through as either a loan or a transfer, depending on Chelsea’s preference.
- Kayden Jackson~ The 26 year old currently plays his football for Ipswich Town in League One. He has Championship experience, scoring 3 in 36 appearances with 2 assists. Jackson would be a good option to bolster the squad, but a few more forwards would also be needed if Blues were to progress next season.
- Danny Fox~ Fox is now a free agent after leaving Wigan at the end of the 19/20 campaign. The 34 year old would be bought in predominantly as defensive cover, after he previously worked with Karanka at Forest. This transfer is looking likely and would make sense from a squad depth point of view.
We hope hope you enjoyed this article, ‘Who will Karanka look to sign for The Blues this summer?’ Who do you think the club should sign? Let us know!
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