After another season in the Championship and another year of financial uncertainty, fans of Birmingham City will have become use to the club utilising the loan market to their advantage. In previous years the club have had future stars such as Joe Hart, Andros Townsend, Ravel Morrison, Jordan Ibe and yes.. even Tyler Blackett. Lee Clark was a big fan of the loan market and it can be said not every loan player to come through Blues has been a success but there have been many beneficiaries.
However, the financial position of the club has improved and with a top 10 finish under his belt Gary Rowett must believe he can sign loan players on a permanent basis; this has been clear with all of his signings particularly after the instant success of Michael Morrison. Rowett has used the loan market to sign more experienced players that are coming into the prime of their careers rather than Clark’s method of going to the big clubs and taking a player with little first team football experience.
Under Rowett, Blues have signed three players from teams who will not be in the Championship next year:
1. Diego Fabbrini
Diego Fabbrini from Watford was initially a shock signing with only a handful of games left of the season to play but Rowett knew it was likely Watford would get promoted to the Premier League which proved to be the case. This means Fabbrini could be surplus to requirements giving Blues a strong chance of landing the Italian who has immediately become a fan favourite for his flair and creativity as well as the fact he paid for his own flight to Italy to get a new mask for his broken nose. A fan who met Fabbrini after the win at Bolton revealed that the playmaker hopes he can stay at Blues, whether permanently or on a season long loan remains to be seen. I for one would love to see the little Italian back at St. Andrews next year for what could be an exciting season.
2. Lloyd Dyer
Also signing from Watford was experienced winger Lloyd Dyer who ended up playing 19 games but only really made an impact during the penultimate game of the season against Charlton when he scored the late winner. He is almost certain to be surplus to requirements at Watford but at the age of 32 it is unlikely Rowett will bring him back permanently which is probably the right decision with younger players such as Koby Arthur and Viv Solomon-Otabor in the squad.
3. Rob Kiernan
Rob Kiernan joined from Wigan who were eventually relegated, a regular under Uwe Rosler but cast aside by Malky Mackay, the club are now managed by ex Blues defender Stephen Caldwell’s brother Gary. As with any new manager he will wish to assess his squad individually but with the club now in League One it is likely a decent offer from Blues should be enough to secure Kiernan’s signature. Kiernan has impressed during his 12 games and at 24 is at a perfect age, he is composed on the ball and allows Blues to play out from the back as well as being a real physical presence. If Rowett could bring him to the club permanently, I believe he could form a solid defensive partnership with Michael Morrison.
4. Robert Tesche
Finally, Robert Tesche from Nottingham Forest is the player that Rowett will want and needs to sign the most. The German central midfielder has added another dimension to the way Blues play with his passing ability and ball retention making Rowett’s team not just a counter attacking side. Tesche also has the ability to play as a defensive midfielder or as a no.10 and has chipped in with a couple of goals in his twelve games. Forest manager Dougie Freedman has publicly announced that Tesche will be a Forest player next season after the German’s contract had an appearance clause meaning he now has one year on his contract again. However, it is still unsure if Freedman wants Tesche and if pre season comes and go with Tesche failing to impress it could be to Birmingham’s benefit. This move could be one that runs deep into the summer but I’m sure I speak on behalf of all bluenoses when I say I hope he is a Birmingham player come the first game of the season.