He featured nine times last season whilst on loan at St Andrews towards the back end of the campaign, but it now looks like Ryan Shotton will be returning to Birmingham on a permanent deal this summer. The former Stoke City man has been unable to nail a place down at Derby under several managers but it seems that his performances at the Blues last season have impressed Gary Rowett.
His first few appearances didn’t really give hope for Blues fans as he replaced Paul Caddis at right back and didn’t really look comfortable in that position. However, he was given the opportunity in his preferred centre-back position alongside skipper Michael Morrison and heads were turned.
It was clear that centre-half is his more natural position and where he really shines on the football pitch. He looked solid, composed and his strength and athleticism allowed him to be dominant on both the deck and in the air. He is, albeit, prone to a mistake here or there but, then again, who isn’t?
Bringing Shotton back to St Andrews seems the obvious choice and he is more than likely to be in Rowett’s thoughts to be the man to take up that left-sided centre-back position. The club still have Paul Robinson and Jonathan Spector on the books as cover and Rowett could potentially bring one more in just to be safe. Rowett has a big decision to make in deciding whether or not he is happy with Shotton being first choice or if he wants to bring someone else in of the same ilk if the move doesn’t pay off.
An important factor in this move happening is certainly the relationship Shotton already has with the players and club itself. He won’t really have to get settled in and his understanding with Morrison and the other defenders will allow him to slot back in fairly naturally. He knows his surroundings and him coming into the club will suit both parties. Essentially, for him, he gets the reward of first team football and, in turn, the club are getting a very capable Championship defender.
Shotton will become Birmingham’s second summer signing after they completed a deal for midfielder Robert Tesche last week. Of course, he was also at the club previously on loan and it seems that Rowett is preferring players who have already proved their worth to him rather than taking a punt on a new, fresh approach.
These deals are still, however, fairly big for the club as a deal for Shotton won’t come cheap and the impression is that his wages will cost a fair chunk. This can all be seen as a positive for a club that, for the past few years, have been relying on free transfers, loans, and a very tight wage budget. The January signing of Diego Fabbrini and now completing deals for Tesche and Shotton is a step in the right direction for the financial situation of the club moving forward.
Only time will tell if Shotton does indeed become Birmingham’s latest signing and if it does turn out to be business well done. What’s positive for me is that we have already seen what he can do and how he plays. Recreating his form from the latter stages of last season is now his test and one which fans will hope he relishes in.
The last week or so has given Blues fans hope for next season that they can be up there next season and realistically mount a challenge for promotion to the Premier League.
Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Tom Jacobs.