Often Partisan

Time, Money and Youth

Birmingham City take on Roda JC Kerkrade in their final warm-up before the new season starts today, having failed to add any further players to the team in the last two weeks. Gary Rowett has bemoaned a culture of “overpaying” for players as a reason for not being able to bring in Che Adams from Sheffield United with the club having had two bids knocked back.

I have mentioned before on this website that I think one of the things that is ultimately undoing Blues this transfer window is a lack of money to push things through. While Blues have long been insistent that they’re not completely broke I think Rowett has hit the nail on the head; there is nothing that pushes a transfer through quicker than throwing a few more quid at it to twist a selling club’s arm and Blues just can’t do that right now.

However, I can’t help but feel a little bit concerned that we’re almost into August without having sorted some of the major issues I believe this team faces. At Hibs and Port Vale it was obvious that the dearth of left-footed players has left the team somewhat unbalanced; there is no cover for Jonathan Grounds at left back, and going forwards we have no player who is genuinely left footed who can go on the outside of a full back – especially with pace.

As much as I know Blues have drawn up lists of targets, and I know that there are a few Blues are still sweating answers on, I can’t help but wonder if Blues have been cute enough in their transfer strategy. I’ve said before that I think Rowett needed help in confirming his decisions for players – which he now has in Ewan Chester – but I’ve come to the conclusion of late that maybe he’s not the only one whose inexperience is starting to show.

For all the selfies with fans, the clever Tilton Alliance t-shirts and pithy tweets I’m starting to wonder if Panos Pavlakis is struggling to get deals across the line himself. From what I know football is a very cliquey business; it’s a business where people do business based on who they know rather than what they know and for someone who is new to the game it’s hard at first as lots of relationships need to be developed. I don’t know for sure if it’s the case but I do wonder if Blues are struggling to complete deals because they don’t have someone at the top who is able to call in favours from a long experience in the game.

Maybe I’m over-reacting. One thing with not being able to bring in players means that Blues must once again look within and this pre-season has been about the progress of some of the u21s; Reece Brown has looked an absolute standout in his cameos in the last two games; Josh Cogley defended well and was the person who started both goals at Port Vale with some beautiful crosses from deep while Jack Storer has shown his mettle with five goals in five games.

Cogley and Storer have both since been rewarded with first team numbers and I wouldn’t be massively surprised if both are involved with the first team next week; maybe not against Cardiff but definitely in the cup against Oxford United. It’s asking a lot to rely on young players for a full season but I believe it would certainly help Blues to minimise the amount of acquisitions needed if they can flesh out their first team with development squad members.

The transfer window has another month to go and anything could happen; I hope that both Panos and Rowett can pull the rabbits out of the hat they want to prove that my concerns were unnecessary.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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