With 5 days left till the transfer window shuts on October 5th, we assess what business Blues could do in that time, as well as possible outgoings from the club.
Additions to the forward line?
Blues managed to add Scott Hogan to their ranks, with an all important second-choice to the Juke wrapped up in good time. Not only that, in Hogan we have someone who has already hit the ground running at the club, and has proven to be equally as effective as Jutkiewicz in recent months. Whether we get the pre/post lockdown Hogan is yet to be discovered, but his experience and knowledge of the league will be important going forward.
Talks of adding a third choice striker have come and gone in recent weeks. Ipswich front man Kayden Jackson has been touted as a possible acquisition, with a fee of around £2.5 million rumored to have been offered by Blues back in August. However there seems to have been no further movement made on these claims, and according to social media Jackson seems to be committed to the cause at Ipswich. However he wasn’t in the squad for their most recent game against Rochdale last weekend, so might be one to keep an eye out for in the last few days of the window.
Jack Clarke was also a name linked with a switch to St. Andrews, albeit a season-long loan. That deal looked to have been all but completed, however contrary to reports from the Birmingham Mail which claimed that Clarke was set for his third loan spell in just over a year, Clarke’s agent and former Leeds defender Ian Harte was quick to deny these claims. It is potentially now down to the player whether he feels he can force his way into Jose Mourinho’s plans or not, and if so a switch to St. Andrews could still be on the cards if all parties agree.
Whether Clarke or Jackson are the new faces in or not, Blues could maybe do with strengthening either with a new striker or winger, or even both. With Leko still on the recovery from his long-term injury and without a possible first-team appearance not coming till November, Blues could do with adding another body on the wing to help compete with Bela and Sanchez, especially with the busy winter schedule not too far away. The same could also be said for the striking options, as an injury to either Jutkiewicz or Hogan could see the other burdened with the responsibility of leading the line as a solo-act for the foreseeable future.
Departures in Central Midfield?
If you rewind back to the end of the last season, Blues were down to around fourtern senior players, all tasked with keeping the club afloat. Fast forward to September and nine signings later Blues have stocked all the necessary positions with back up options plentiful. That is an understatement in the middle of the park, with as many as nine central midfield options at Karanka’s disposal. That number will be closer to eight for a while with Josh Mceachran still recovering from his serious knee injury back in February. That is a lot of ammunition to work with, and almost more than a headache for the gaffer as he only has room for two in his preferred formation, with Ivan Sunjic and Adam Clayton currently occupying those roles, who could remain long term if they continue their current form.
Ninth summer signing Mikel San Jose will look to impose himself in that position after arriving from Athletic Bilbao. although with no pre-season under his belt it may take time to integrate the Spaniard into the side. Agustin Medina has been named on the bench in recent weeks and might be able to force his way into the side. However he hasn’t come off the bench this season to make an appearance and he might have to get used to a place on the bench if other players ahead of him outrank him.
Three names have cropped up in recent weeks with talks of pastures new potentially on the cards for them. David Davis and Maikel Kieftenbeld have yet to feature at all for Blues this season, with a place on the bench even out of their reach. As two of the old guard at Blues and firm fan favourites they might feel aggrieved to have not at least been in the bosses plans since the start of the season, and it is not yet clear whether Karanka sees them as part of the squad in the new campaign at all. Rotherham and Millwall respectively have been possible destinations for the central pairing, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the next five days as to whether the gaffer will find the experience integral or not.
Another veteran has been linked with an exit recently. Bournemouth are rumoured to be preparing a £1m bid for Gary Gardner, and whether the valuation is right for the player or not, Karanka has a big decision to make on the 28-year-old. With a place in the starting 11 normally routine for Gardner, the player himself might be considering a move away especially if Clayton and Sunjic are Karanka’s preferred options. However, Gardner has preached for his love of the club in recent times, and with brother Craig part of the coaching set up he might find his home to still remain at St. Andrews, albeit it on the bench for now.
Temporary switches for the youngsters?
Blues academy continues to impress and the conveyor belt of talent can be epitomized by Bellingham’s move to Borrusia Dortmund last season. The next stars will hope to follow in similar footsteps, and some loan moves could give them valuable game time as Karanka looks mainly to his experienced players in his first term as Blues boss. Zach Jeacock and Adan George have both been talked about highly by the gaffer, with recent first team appearances coming for the pair due to the lack of squad depth. Now the incomings are nearly complete and both players currently holding the third choice title in their respective roles, the youngsters might benefit from a full season away to gain experience. However Karanka might look to keep the pair in and around the squad to learn on the job as it were, especially if an injury comes in one of those departments.
The likes of Odin Bailey, Charlie Lakin and Josh Dacres-Cogley have tasted first-team football more regularly than the rest, and might feel as though further development elsewhere is in their immediate futures. Again the decision is left to the boss to decide whether bodies within the club will benefit the team long term ahead of the busy period, or in fact the more senior of the youths could do with regular game time. Jayden Reid and Caolan Boyd-Munce will also want to know where they will be plying their trade as we approach the fourth game of the 2020/2021 season this weekend.