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Birmingham City agree fee for Brentford’s Jota – is he what they need?

Jake Jackman

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Jota

Birmingham City are close to signing Brentford attacker Jota, according to Sky Sports. It is believed that a fee of around £6 million has been agreed for the 26-year-old. This would be a huge coup for Harry Redknapp as the player has been attracting interest from Middlesbrough and Fulham during recent weeks. There is still a way to go before this deal is completed, but it is looking likely that the Spaniard will be going to the Midlands.

Will he make them a top-six candidate?

The club have maintained a consistent message that they need more signings if they are to challenge at the top end of the division. They have started the season poorly and are currently in 20th position after five matches. It was always going to take Redknapp time to improve the mood at the club after a disastrous end to the previous campaign and he will be hoping this signing provides the momentum to challenge for the top-six.

Jota was one of the best players in the Championship after returning to Brentford for the second half of last season. He contributed 12 goals and five assists, with a goal involvement every 100.5 minutes. It is surprising there hasn’t been considerable Premier League interest in him as the Spaniard is certainly capable of making the step up to the top flight.

His contribution in the final third was impressive last season, but his underlying stats suggest that he should be able to maintain it over the course of the season. Jota averaged 1.53 chances created and 3.79 attempted shots per ninety minutes. He was always involved in Brentford’s attacking play and Birmingham will be hoping he can be as influential in their team.

Despite his goal-scoring last season, he has yet to find the back of the net at the start of the new campaign. However, he has already contributed three assists and has remained a threat during a period of uncertainty for him. Birmingham have lacked quality in the final third when it comes to build-up play. Jota could be the missing piece in their attack.

Is Jota a good signing?

This is one of the more surprising deals of the Championship window, as Jota is regarded as a leading player in the division. His own aspirations have to be questioned as moving from Brentford to Birmingham is a sideways step at best, but it underlines the pull that Harry Redknapp has. Players want to play for him and for what he offers in recruitment alone, he was a good appointment for Blues. That said, results have to improve on the pitch soon if they want to challenge for promotion.

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

Birmingham City

Garry Monk should reunite with Rob Green at Birmingham City

Birmingham City are set to let David Stockdale leave the club.

Mathew Coull

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Huddersfield Town have announced their retained list for the summer and veteran goalkeeper Rob Green will now be hunting for a new club. The Terriers have not renewed his one-year deal at the club and the 12-cap England international will now be hunting for a new club this summer.

Green joined Huddersfield on a free transfer after a shock release by West Yorkshire rivals Leeds United last summer, who decided to replace him with German goalie Felix Wiedwald. That proved to be a move which certainly backfired.

But he played second fiddle to Danish international goalie Jonas Lossl and is now on his way. He did not feature in a single game for the club, spending the entire season as a substitute at the John Smith’s Stadium.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

So where does he go next?

One potential option would be a return to working with Garry Monk, currently the manager at Birmingham City.

Green was the number one for Monk at Leeds in 2016-17. Had the manager remained at Elland Road, it is highly likely that Green would have done the same and played out this season as the Whites number one again.

But with Monk gone Green needed to find somewhere else to play his football and now the pair have a chance to reunite again.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It also appears that Birmingham are going to be in need of a new goalkeeper. The Yorkshire Evening Post suggest this weekend that Monk wants to move on David Stockdale, with his hometown club and Monk’s former club Leeds keen.

If Stockdale is exiting, Birmingham need a safe pair of hands between the net. Despite his advancing years, Green proved at Leeds he still has plenty to give at the Championship level and with Monk needing a new ‘keeper he can rely on the 38-year-old would be a no-brainer for Birmingham City.

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Birmingham City

Leeds must take advantage of Garry Monk’s misstep and snap up David Stockdale

The experienced shot-stopper would be a useful addition at Elland Road.

Max Cohen

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David Stockdale
Photo: Getty Images

Rarely is a goalkeeper who was previously named in the Championship Team of the Year told he is surplus to requirements, but this fate appears to have befallen Birmingham City’s David Stockdale.

Leeds United must act quickly and sign Stockdale from Birmingham, reuniting the former Premier League goalie with his favourite club.

Stockdale starred for Brighton and Hove Albion in the 2016/17 Championship campaign, steering the Seagulls to automatic promotion while being named in the PFA Team of the Year.

When the Englishman signed for Birmingham the following summer, many lauded the move as one of the coups of the transfer window.

Yet, Stockdale endured a turbulent year at St Andrew’s as the club went through three managers and narrowly avoided relegation.

Nonetheless, it came as a surprise when the Birmingham Mail reported that manager Garry Monk would allow the 32-year-old keeper to leave this summer.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Stockdale enjoyed a strong end to the season as the Blues won five out of their last nine to stay up, keeping three clean sheets in the process.

Given his strong Championship pedigree and impressive recent form, it seems odd that Monk would allow Stockdale to depart this summer.

However, Birmingham’s loss could turn into Leeds’ gain, as the Yorkshire club would do well to acquire the Leeds-born shot-stopper.

The goalkeeper grew up in the city and is a Leeds supporter, and even had a trial with the club when he was 12.

Stockdale failed the trial back then but has a superb chance to move to Elland Road and deputise for his beloved childhood club.

The goalkeeper has been a problem position all year for Leeds.

According to Phil Hay of the Yorkshire Evening Post, summer signing Felix Wiedwald has “struggled to adapt” to the Championship, while Bailey Peacock-Farrell is relatively inexperienced at only 21 years of age.

The signing of David Stockdale would benefit all parties involved, reuniting the goalkeeper with his boyhood club and solving the positional dilemma at Elland Road.

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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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