While there is never a bad time for one of your players to to score a hat-trick, Birmingham City could probably have done without Che Adam’s treble during their 5-1 victory against League Two Crawley Town in the EFL Cup.
Adams’ virtuoso display came just hours after the Birmingham Mail confirmed that the Blues’ Championship rivals Derby County had tabled a £3 million bid for the 21-year old forward, who is now sure to become the the subject of more intense transfer speculation and determined pursuit in the days to come.
The club certainly face a challenge to retain the services of their star player, even though a little more than three weeks remain until the summer transfer window slams shut.
Why Birmingham face an uphill battle in the quest to keep Adams
Adams has inspired significant interest throughout the summer, but the Rams have shown their hand by making a decisive move for the talented forward. HITC Sport reported that Derby were keen to strengthen their attacking options following their opening day draw with Sunderland last weekend, while the pacey and powerful Adams would represent an excellent replacement for the departed Tom Ince.
Not only this, but Adams has an excellent working relationship with Derby’s manager Gary Rowett, who signed the forward during his previous tenure at St. Andrews. Rowett played a key role in conceiving the £1.9 million package that convinced Adams’ former club Sheffield United to sell, and this will only make it harder for the Blues to retain their prize asset as the summer draws to a close.
Adams is also proven at Championship level, having appeared 42 times for the Blues last season and scored seven goals from several attacking positions. Now playing further forward, he is expected to contribute more prolifically this season and scoring his first senior hat-trick for the club has only served to reaffirm this hope. This is something that Derby and other potential suitors will be aware of, as teams look to secure a competitive advantage in an increasingly hard-fought division.
Are Birmingham resigned to losing Adams?
Blues manager Harry Redknapp is determined to hold onto Adams, especially as the club have only three first-team strikers on their books at present (while Lukas Jutkiewicz is currently sidelined with a calf injury).
According to another report in the Birmingham Mail, Redknapp has responded to his striker shortage by submitting a £1.2 million offer for Luton Town’s exciting prospect Isaac Vassell (who scored twice during Luton’s 8-2 win against Yeovil on the opening day). The offer has since been rejected, but a sustained pursuit and willingness to bid significantly more for the player may tell us whether Vassell is wanted simply to augment the Blues’ strike force or serve as a direct replacement for Adams.
Only time will tell, but a manager with Redknapp’s experience and street-smarts will probably be planning ahead for Adams’ potential departure from St. Andrews. If not, he may need to call on all of his natural charisma and track record if he is to ensure that his star player remains at the club for at least another season.