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Alex Song set for Birmingham City – is he a good signing?

Jake Jackman

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Song

Birmingham City are making major moves on deadline day as Harry Redknapp attempts to equip himself with a squad that can challenge for promotion. The Mail report that they are set to sign Alex Song from Rubin Kazan after an agreement was found with the Russian club. He is travelling to the Midlands for his medical. The club have already signed Jason Lowe and agreed a deal for Jota, but this would be an even bigger story.

The 29-year-old is well known to fans in this country, after spells at Arsenal and West Ham. Song also had a stint at Barcelona, which underlines the quality that he possesses. Redknapp believes that the midfielder can be an asset in the Championship. This is a signing typical of the Blues’ boss and the finances involved are likely to be big for the second tier. Given the moves they have made today, Birmingham are going to have to challenge for promotion this season.

Would he be a good signing?

It is difficult to know how the midfielder will adjust to the Championship and whether he has the motivation to perform consistently in the division. However, he has a lot of ability as his list of previous clubs shows. This is a huge coup for the club and the type of signing that will excite supporters. It has been a poor start to the season, but Birmingham are showing ambition on deadline day and that will help get supporters excited about the team again. There will be concerns over the finances, but if he helps them to promotion, it won’t matter.

Song is best as a holding midfielder, but he possesses the technical ability to dominate matches in the Championship. It is likely that he will be given more freedom in the Birmingham team and allowed license to express himself. Based on his ability, it is a sharp improvement on the current midfield options, but he needs to be motivated to perform. It is up to Redknapp to ensure that he is.

How likely is a deal?

There is always a chance that a rival club will come in and steal him at the last minute. That will be a huge concern where this deal is concerned as Song is a proven Premier League player. If a team from the top flight decides to make a late move, Birmingham would be at risk of losing their man. However, as things stand, it looks like the Cameroon international is going to sign for the Blues. This will be one of the eye-catching deals of the day.

Alex Song to Birmingham City
4.5
Transfer Likelihood
The Boot Room's Verdict
The deal looks likely as he jets in for a medical, but there is always a chance a bigger club could come in on deadline day.

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Birmingham City

Leeds United can’t afford to lose Pablo Hernandez to Championship rivals

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Rumours are circulating that Leeds United could face a battle to retain midfielder Pablo Hernandez as interest hots up in his services, with his contract at Elland Road set to expire in the summer.

Birmingham City are believed to be one of the club’s monitoring the situation, with former club Gary Monk keen to reunite with the Spaniard, say Birmingham Live.

The news comes following Paul Heckingbottom’s quotes on his future as he told Leeds Live, “I’ve had chats with Pablo in terms of football, him himself, us as a club and everything was positive.”

“Pablo’s driven by football rather than money and things like that, he’s driven by his heart. He likes it here, his family’s settled here. So things like that are positive, always.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

“But there could be other people turning his head, speaking in those terms with him, trying to capture his heart at other clubs and that’s the position we find ourselves in because of his contract situation.

“So we’ll try as hard as we can. He knows where I stand on it and that’s it, that’s all we can do.”

Granted, at 33 years of age he may not be the most profitable player for the club to return with any resale value likely to be very low, but for Leeds he has been a pivotal player this season.

Only Kemar Roofe and Pierre-Michel Lasogga have scored more goals this term, with Hernandez’s tally on nine, and no player has been involved in more goals when you take assists into account.

His creativity has been crucial, even as the team have struggled under Heckingbottom, and he is clearly a key piece of the puzzle as the club consider how to improve next season.

Hernandez may not be the man to build a team around long-term, but he does possess the kind of quality that cannot be lost, nor easily or cheaply replaced, with a rebuilding project looking inevitable this summer.

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Birmingham City

Garry Monk should target Kenji Gorre reunion at Birmingham City

The Dutchman has been in fine form for Swansea’s under-23s this season.

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Swansea City have struggled this season, but their under-23s have been in great form. The South Wales youngsters are into the semi-finals of the Premier League 2 Cup and challenging for the PL Division 1 title.

One of the key reasons for that success is Dutch winger Kenji Gorre. The former Manchester United youngster has been in fine form for the Swans this season – scoring 11 goals from 22 appearances and also pitching in with four assists.

However, his contract in South Wales expires in the summer and plenty of teams will be looking at making his services permanent in the summer.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Surely Birmingham City should be one of those teams. The Championship side are currently battling against relegation from the second-tier, with Garry Monk as their manager.

The former Swansea captain and manager will know Gorre well. The Dutch talent has played just one senior game for the Swansea first-team and it was Monk who gave him that opportunity.

Birmingham could be the perfect move for the 23-year-old, who now needs to be playing regular first-team football.

Monk has demonstrated in the past a preference for signing former players. For example, at Leeds, he signed Kyle Bartley, Matt Grimes and Pablo Hernandez – all former players of his at Swansea City.

(Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Based on his form with the under-23s he could certainly be an important member of the squad at St Andrew’s should Birmingham decide to make a move for his services.

Of course, there is the threat that relegation looms. But, given Gorre’s situation, heading to League One with the Blues would also be preferable to most other situations that could be presented to him this summer. Add in the extra bonus of playing under his former boss Monk and Gorre would surely jump at the chance of a Birmingham switch. He could be the bargain buy that Birmingham need to help them back to the Championship or get them moving up the table.

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Birmingham City

Birmingham fans have plenty of reason for optimism under Garry Monk

The Blues have won their last three matches under Garry Monk and look set for safety.

Greg Whitaker

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Birmingham
Photo: Getty Images

A few months is a very long time in football.

At the beginning of February, Birmingham City were rooted in the Championship’s bottom three and, along with fellow strugglers Sunderland, appeared certainties for relegation.

However, as has become almost tradition at St Andrew’s in recent years, a late change of manager looks to have set in motion yet another miraculous great escape.

But the question is, can Garry Monk buck the trend set by Messrs Redknapp and Clark and prove a successful long-term appointment, rather than the usual firefighting magician?

As Bluenoses will tell you, the early signs are looking very good.

If wins against Ipswich and Hull City last month kick-started Monk’s tenure at St Andrew’s and bolstered the fans’ belief that Championship survival was possible, Tuesday evening’s 1-0 victory away at relegation rivals Bolton must have had the 5,000 strong travelling support brimming with optimism for future.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

While the win was scrappy, with Monk’s side holding on for a large portion of the second half following Che Adams’ 67th-minute red card, the nature of Birmingham’s last three performances are night and day from the brief and ill-fated Cotterill and Redknapp eras.

Ironically perhaps, comparisons have already been made between Monk’s immediate impact and that of former Blues manager Gary Rowett.

The current Derby boss had been far and away Birmingham City’s most promising young manager of recent years when he was controversially sacked and replaced by Gianfranco Zola, with the team just outside the playoffs, in 2016.

Owners who swear to have learnt from this mistake can go some way to repairing their reputation by backing their new man in the transfer window this summer, should Birmingham stay up.

While the Blues’ current squad, on paper at least, looks a decent one at this level – one that certainly shouldn’t be struggling at the wrong end of the division – Monk will need to bolster his squad should a promotion charge be launched next season.

However, perhaps that’s looking just a bit too far in the future for now.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Garry Monk, once again aided by his trusted backroom support of James Beattie and Pep Clotet, will be squarely focused on finishing the job and securing another year of second-tier football before thoughts can be turned to next season.

With the likes of David Stockdale, Che Adams and Jota, arguably Birmingham’s most important trio, seemingly given a new lease of life under Monk, Championship survival could be all but confirmed over the next fortnight, should Birmingham’s unbeaten run continue.

Fans will tell you, then and only then can they turn their attention to next season. But with new found confidence and hope visible oozing from the club at the minute, this seems hard to believe.

The former Swansea and Leeds boss is the shot in the arm a club like Birmingham so desperately needed. Monk represents a breath of fresh air, cleansing a club that has recently stagnated under the rule of the mediocre usual suspects, fresh off the cliche managerial roundabout.

Birmingham supporters were robbed of their optimism when fans’ favourite Gary Rowett was sacked 18 months ago. Now, with Monk at the helm, they have every reason to be optimistic once again.

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