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Manchester United: Pogba announcement made; Jones’ future in doubt; striker in demand

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The deal has finally been done and Paul Pogba is finally a Manchester United player once again. The move has now been confirmed for a fee believed to be around £89 million, the most expensive that the Red Devils have ever paid for a player. Now with the media hyping up the deal to the maximum extent, the club and player are in for a busy few days as he returns to training and joins his new teammates for the first time.

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The move does not come as a great shock, having been in the pipeline for months, but United fans and staff will be relieved to see that it has finally been confirmed without any unexpected hitches. The 23-year-old midfielder will now turn his attentions to returning the club to the Champions League with a title challenge this season, having already stated, “I’m sure Mourinho will make me a better player and a better person.” With Balon D’Or hopes, Pogba will seek to prove himself and settle in quickly at Old Trafford to justify the fee paid by the club.

However, one player who could be heading the other way is defender, Phil Jones, after his Manchester United future was put into doubt as he was left out of the 18 man squad for Sunday’s Community Shield victory at Wembley. Having once been tipped for greatness by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Sam Allardyce, the Manchester Evening News now claim that his future is in more doubt than ever, especially considering the fact that first choice central defender Chris Smalling has not trained all pre-season and Jones was still left out.

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Speculation has linked the ex-Blackburn man with a loan move to Hull City, but Steve Bruce’s departure may have changed things on that front and as of yet there is no concrete interest from any clubs. After an injury hit few years at Old Trafford, this season will be vital for the central defender, who can also play at right back or in holding midfield, as he hopes to prove that he does have the quality to play at the highest level.

He could be joined on the Manchester United exit list by young striker James Wilson, with ESPN claiming that Birmingham City are the latest Championship club to express an interest in taking the youngster on loan after he has formed part of Jose Mourinho’s first team squad this pre-season.

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Having trained with Mourinho’s squad, he is clearly highly rated, but there is stiff competition for places with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford already righting for places. Having scored five goals in 25 games at Brighton last season and now aged 20, Wilson will have to prove himself this campaign if he is to eventually work his way into the United first team and become an Old Trafford regular.


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Sam is a Southend United fan and student based in the South-West. He has previously worked for various publications, including FourFourTwo magazine and ITV. Sam also has an extensive knowledge of Spanish football and has previously lived and worked in Spain. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Birmingham City

Three managers that Birmingham City should target to replace Harry Redknapp

Jake Jackman

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Birmingham City

Birmingham City are on the lookout for a new manager after deciding to sack Harry Redknapp after the team’s loss to Preston North End. Many supporters believe that the decision was a premature one, but the side had taken only four points from eight matches. The Blues are currently in the bottom three and facing a difficult task to make up the ground to the play-off places.

They have struggled since the sacking of Gary Rowett and two managers have failed since then. Gianfranco Zola was a complete disaster after taking the job. Redknapp did well to keep them up last season, but he wasn’t the right man long-term. It is crucial that they now find a good fit as they can’t afford any more upheaval. There are a number of managers in the running, with Steve McClaren, Gus Poyet and Nigel Adkins all mentioned in the media. Lee Carsley is the favourite and has been placed in temporary charge.

There are good managers that could take Birmingham forward. Here are three managers that they should target:

Aitor Karanka

The former Middlesbrough manager is an eye-catching name in the betting and he would be an ambitious appointment by the club. He may have failed in the Premier League, but he showed himself to be an effective manager in the second tier. The Spaniard managed to get Boro back to the top-flight and played some attractive football in the process. Although he switched back to a more defensive set-up in the Premier League, he can coach a team to play an exciting style.

Birmingham did bring in some very talented players during the transfer window and they have the potential to make significant progress up the table with the right coach. Karanka could be the perfect fit. He will make them tough to beat to begin with and provide a foundation for the flair players to do their thing. Last season wasn’t one to be remembered, but he will have learnt from it and is a name that would get the fans on board.

Alan Pardew

This will be filed under unlikely, but the former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace manager will be keen to return to the game after nearly a year out of a job. There are a lot of negative opinions about Pardew, but he has made an impact at most of the clubs he has managed. He guided the Magpies to fifth in the Premier League and got to the FA Cup final with Palace.

It would require him to drop down from the Premier League and return to the second tier. This won’t be what he would want in an ideal world, but he needs to rebuild his reputation and this could be the perfect opportunity to do that. Birmingham have a decent squad and money to spend in future windows. If he wanted a project that had a good chance of being successful, this could be a good fit for him.

Nigel Clough

The current Burton Albion manager hasn’t been mentioned, but if Birmingham want a manager that is tailor-made for the Championship, Nigel Clough would be a good appointment. He has performed miracles at the Pirelli Stadium and knows how to get results in this division. Birmingham need to appoint a good manager, rather than a big name and the 51-year-old should be under consideration.

Clough may not be interested in a move to Birmingham as he is settled at Burton, but it would be difficult to turn down the greater chance of success. He would get respect based on his recent achievements in the Championship, which neither of the previous two managers had. It seems like players enjoy working under Clough and he would be a worthy candidate for the post.

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Birmingham City

How Twitter reacted to Birmingham City signing Jota from Brentford

Jake Jackman

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Jota

Birmingham City have completed one of the deals of the day in the Championship as they have signed Jota from Brentford. The official site confirms that they have broken their club-record fee to bring him to the Midlands on a four-year deal. The Spaniard had been linked to Premier League this summer, while the Bees had rejected offers from Middlesbrough and Hull City. It is seen as a huge coup for the Blues to land him.

Harry Redknapp was delighted with the transfer and the following quotes were reported by the Evening Standard:

“There will not be many better players in the Championship than him, that is for sure. He has got great ability. We are very pleased to have got that one done.”

The Blues manager has always pulled out big deadline day deals throughout his career, but this could be one of his finest. He isn’t wrong when he says that the Spaniard is one of the best players in the division and he will provide the spark that their attack has been lacking during the opening weeks of the season.

Last season, he was excellent during the second half of the season, contributing 12 goals and five assists. Brentford had one of the better attacks after his return and Birmingham will be hoping that he can have a similar impact on their front-line.

Jota is an intelligent player, who takes up good positions in the final third and is capable of producing end product on a consistent basis. It is rare to have a player like him in the Championship and the Blues will have to be seen as one of the favourites for promotion now.

Here is how Twitter reacted to the news:

https://twitter.com/gyazza/status/903166150070161408

Birmingham fans were pleased with the news:

Brentford fans were disappointed, but couldn’t see why he wanted to move to Birmingham:

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Arsenal

Birmingham City linked with Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere – would he be a good signing?

Jake Jackman

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Wilshere

Birmingham City are making a number of ambitious moves on deadline day and they have been linked with Jack Wilshere. The Mirror report that the midfielder has emerged as a surprise deadline day target as they investigate the possibility of taking him on loan. Arsenal are unlikely to use him often this season and could be tempted to let him go down to the Championship.

The wages being commanded by the England international could be a problem. He currently earns £90,000-a-week and that is huge for the Championship. Birmingham wouldn’t be able to pay them in full and they will be hoping that a compromise can be found with Arsenal. If they managed to complete a deal, it would be a huge statement of intent and they would emerge as one of the favourites for promotion. Harry Redknapp has pulled off several big deals on deadline day, but this could be one of his most impressive.

Would he be a good signing?

The last couple of years have seen Wilshere go backwards in his career. He is no longer a regular in the England squad as injuries have hampered him. During his loan spell at Bournemouth, he showed flashes of his ability, but he was unable to make the impression that everyone had expected. The midfielder had lost the ability to burst past players in the middle of the park and that hindered his effectiveness.

However, Wilshere remains a huge talent and it would be a coup if Birmingham were able to bring him to the Championship. The midfielder was once one of the best English players and he would have the talent to take the division by storm. If they could keep him fit, it could be the signing that propels them to promotion.

How likely is a deal?

Harry Redknapp will be spinning lots of plates and seeing what is available on the market. A move for Wilshere would be difficult to pull off, but it is exciting for supporters that he is trying to sign the midfielder. If Arsenal want him to leave the club, it is possible that he drops down to the Championship and joins Birmingham. There would have to be an arrangement found for his wages as they look to be the main stumbling block at this stage. It is ambitious, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible.

Jack Wilshere to Birmingham City
2.5
Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
This will be a tough deal to pull off, but Harry Redknapp has form for surprising on deadline day.
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