Southampton star among 5 former players Birmingham should now re-sign
Birmingham City should look to sign these five former Blues players to put a disappointing 2021/22 Championship season behind them.
The Second City outfit could only manage a 20th-place finish under Lee Bowyer this season with a 10-point margin to the relegation zone. Play-off football, on the other hand, proved to be 28 points out of reach.
A lack of consistent results proved costly for Birmingham, having only taken successive wins on one occasion. They also only won five of their 30 games from November 3 on the back of winning three in a row.
Only Barnsley, who would fall into League One in 24th-place, won fewer matches over the same 30-game period. Only Reading also conceded more goals than the Blues, having let in a whopping 60 to 58.
The leaky record at St Andrew’s meant Bowyer’s men ended the campaign with the fourth-worst defensive record with 75 conceded. They also recorded the fifth-worst offence after scoring just 50 in 46 games.
So, in their efforts to climb back up the Championship table next season, Birmingham should consider re-signing these former players…
Birmingham should sign former ace Redmond from Southampton
Birmingham could look to strengthen their attacking arsenal this summer by signing former winger Nathan Redmond from Southampton. The 28-year-old will enter the final year of his contract at St Mary’s in June.
His contractual situation could see that the Saints accept a reasonable price for the one-cap England international. Redmond has also not enjoyed the best season so far on the south coast this term.
Redmond has only started 18 of his 25 Premier League outings under Ralph Hasenhuttl and is yet to score. But the versatile Birmingham-born dynamo has offered five assists from his central and wide outings.
So, Birmingham could benefit from re-signing their academy product if Redmond is open to a return to St Andrew’s. He left the Second City in 2013 to join Norwich City after 82 games across all competitions.
Clarke-Salter could strengthen Blues backline with return
Jake Clarke-Salter could help Birmingham to produce a superior defensive record next term should the Blues sign their former defender. The centre-half spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at St Andrew’s from Chelsea.
He is now set to be out of contract at Stamford Bridge this June after spending the season at Coventry City on loan. The 24-year-old made 29 Championship appearances at the Sky Blues and recorded five clean sheets.
Clarke-Salter produced assured displays in his time at the Coventry Building Society Arena, featuring crucial tackles. He was also often composed and showed solid strength while alert to dangerous situations.
Birmingham should sign former goalkeeper Randolph
Darren Randolph enters the final year of his contract at West Ham United this summer, but is far from first-choice. The 50-cap Republic of Ireland international has not played at all so far this season in east London.
Additionally, David Moyes has omitted the 35-year-old from his Premier League plans on 34 times over 36 games. He last featured in a top-flight matchday squad in February, and only played three games last term.
So, Randolph will surely seek pastures new once more this summer, and Birmingham should look to sign their former player. He played 92 games at St Andrew’s between 2013 and 2015 for 19 clean sheets in total.
Bell may hit the market after Luton’s promotion push
Amari’i Bell may hit the market as a free agent this year, despite playing a key role in Luton Town’s promotion push. The 28-year-old only joined the Hatters on a one-year contract last July after leaving Blackburn.
Bell played a key role in securing play-off football at Kenilworth Road after scoring one and assisting two goals in 41 regular season games. He also played every minute in their final 26 fixtures, featuring 15 wins.
Yet as the 28-year-old has never played in the Premier League, Luton may let him go should they seal promotion. If so, Birmingham should sign their former left-back, who played for the Blues from 2012 to 2015.
Birmingham could capitalise on Derby drop for Bielik deal
Birmingham could now capitalise on Derby County’s relegation by securing a return to St Andrew’s for Krystian Bielik. The five-cap Poland star spent the second half of the 2016/17 season there on loan from Arsenal.
The Rams later signed Bielik in a £7.5m deal aged 21 in August 2019, which could rise up to £10m. He penned a five-year contract at Pride Park, which boss Wayne Rooney hopes the defensive midfielder now honours.
“Absolutely,” Rooney said, via Derbyshire Live, in April following their relegation. “He is a Derby player, he is contracted to this club and unless anything drastic happens, he will still be here next season.”
Bielik could only play a limited role in the Rams’ attempts to avoid dropping into League One due to injury. The 24-year-old started the season sidelined after a second cruciate injury and ended it with a groin problem.
The summer break will now afford Bielik a chance to regain his fitness to kick start next term fresh. So, Birmingham should put Rooney’s resolve to the test by trying to sign their former loan player over the off-season.