Often Partisan

Quality not Quantity

Birmingham City are yet to have made any headway (officially at least) in signing any of the loanees that finished last season at St Andrew’s. Sources inside the club point to Rowett being interested in at least three of them – Rob Kiernan, Robert Tesche and Diego Fabbrini – but as of the time of writing nothing has been agreed.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that for me the most important signing of this pre-season would be Robert Tesche. I will make no bones about it – in my opinion the German midfielder was one of the reasons Blues went back to winning ways as the season drew to a close and I think if we had had him all season he’d have run Clayton Donaldson close for his player of the season prize.

The last we heard was that Tesche has had his optional year taken up by Forest; although I’ve heard rumours that it was actually Tesche who was able to activate the option rather than the club. I’m given to believe that his wages for that extra year would blow the current wage structure at St Andrew’s out of the water so Blues would require some negotiation to bring the Wismar-born midfielder back to the club. I guess the question would be if Tesche figures in Dougie Freedman’s plans – and if he doesn’t, how much competition Blues would have for his services if we did try to prise him away from the Tricky Trees.

The truth is this summer is going to be very different from last year. Rather than bringing in half of a new squad, I think Rowett is going to make no more than two or three signings – but all of them with enough quality to take Blues to the next level. I’ve been repeatedly assured by my contacts at the club that the money is there for Blues to bring in better players – and at higher wages than we have offered in previous years.

This is Rowett’s first big transfer window and I’m curious to see how he operates. I’d like to see him have the belief in himself and his scouting contacts to be able to bring in players  who have quality but are a bit out of left-field rather than the same old journeymen we see doing the rounds in the Championship.

As much as people have criticised Brentford for their “moneyball” approach to football, I think they have shown that there can be bargains to be found out there and that with very careful scouting it’s possible to bring in players who can make a real difference from out of nowhere. As an example – their latest signing is Akaki Gogia, a former German youth international picked up from German third-tier outfit Hallescher FC. I’m not going to say he’s going to be a success – I have no idea at all – but it’s a very interesting way of doing business and if he does prove to do well I think it shows that having scouts in Europe (something Blues don’t currently have) is an important thing to possess.

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43 Responses to “Quality not Quantity”

  • asif says:

    you do need scouts abroad. but maybe blues need to look closer to home and non league players. i wrote before there were a couple of players at redditch utd and solihull moors. just av a look t them.

    • oldburyblue says:

      Blimey Asif, what a good idea…why haven’t Blues thought about that before?! Sorry to be sarcastic but I think we might have that covered already……like all Pro Teams.

      • derbyblue says:

        you say that oldburyblue, but Solihull had a decent kid scoring a few goals for them a few years back.. name of Matt Smith (dad even played for Blues apparently on 1 occasion in the 1970’s!!)

        didnt even get a link to Blues on the doorstep, yet has been very successful and strong looking centre forward in both League One and at Championship level with Leeds, and now Fulham

        plenty of non league lads slip through the net for us – which i think is a shame – as the man’s game is worth ten a penny of any Academy upbringing, but I might be a footballing dinosaur.. LOL

  • DoctorD says:

    Most things Rowett’s done so far at Blues have been good or above average, so I guess it’s a case of wait-and-see. #InRowettWeTrust

  • Your right of course Dan , the loan system is still there to use , and until we can afford scouts abroad perhaps we should offer rewards in the poor countries to sports writers to scout for us with a initial payment for a obvious talent with add ons …. .

  • stephen Powell says:

    To be fair but I don’t think players from the 2 clubs mentioned above are good enough for us and where we are trying to head to, no disrepect to them. I still think we also need to do more work with the younger players as thou some are coming though, they don’t seem to be the standard that is required bar one or two and for a club with not too much money at present, its important we get good players coming thou that can stay at this level.

  • Vicarpoof says:

    A scout in Europe you say? I know someone who has recently moved to Poland who may do a bit of player monitoring in his spare time :)

  • DaveP says:

    There’s a lot to be said for the ‘Football Manager’ approach to transfers too. A lot of big clubs use the same statistics database they do at SI Games (forget what it’s called)

  • StaffsBlue says:

    This has to be the most boring summer – transfer-wise – that I can remember for years. It’s not just us, but right across the board. I know players don’t actually sign until July 1st, but jeez, by that time, it’ll be 2 months since the end of last season. Plus, apart from, perhaps, Dean Whitehead, I’m not impressed with any of the players we’ve been linked with. I really hope Rowett can do better than what the media has served up so far.

  • Dave Mann says:

    What quality can we get with what money we have to spend? ..,quality players normally cost good money and Gary had better use his knowledge to get a bargain or two and Tesche certainly fits the bill… Fabbrini back for me would be magic also then look at centre half , left midfield , striker and at least one goal keeper.. That makes it 6 players for me rather than 3/4 and then I might be a bit more optimistic about a playoff push but were all gonna have to wait and see and hope we get quality at bargain basement prices! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      This is where having a manger from the lower leagues comes in handy Dave. He should know every little gem hiding in the bottom three divisions….; especially the lower two. Some of the carthorses and ne’er-do-wells we’ve been linked with so far don’t fill me with too much excitement. TBH, I’d rather have a good up-and-coming league 1 player than some of the premier or championship cast offs I’ve seen in the out of contract lists so far.

  • swissjonny says:

    I agree Dave.Tesche and Fab would be blinding but we need at least another 4 players.We obviously need a keeper and the other positions you outline seem spot on.Daniel I know you reckon Tesche could be the midfield enforcer but much as I really rate the player I would like to see him in a less restricted role and really still crave a disciplined hard nut ball winner in the midfield who could feed Tesche and the forward or forwards.We definately need some cover at centre forward because if Clayton gets crocked its going to really dull our knife.

  • rhees says:

    What players have we been linked with ??
    Trust in Garry he certainly just wont grab what’s out there for the sake of it.
    Tesch yes and fabrini for me defo

    • StaffsBlue says:

      They’re all media linked players only. One thing I am glad about, is that Rowett doesn’t open his mouth about targets until he needs to.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Tesche, as much as I’d like to see us sign him, I just can’t see it happening. I would think that he took up the option on his contract because of the increased wages. I can’t see any other reason to stay at a club where you might not be in the manager’s plans… unless of course, Freedman has told him that he will be. Otherwise, how could we afford those kind of wages? I have a feeling that Fabbrini, if he does come back, will be on a season-long loan.

    But, if neither come back, I’m sure Rowett has other options.

    • Blue Steve says:

      I would love to see Tesche sign permanently but I to think that it is very unlikely to happen. If his option has been activated then we would have to pay a fee and match those wages. Basically its not gong to happen which is a shame. Hopefully GR can find another midfielder who can pass put his foot in and score goals… here’s hoping.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    On Skysports.com

    The closure of this summer’s transfer window has been brought forward from the usual time of 11pm to 6pm. And because Monday Aug 31 is a Bank Holiday, it will now close on Tuesday Sept 1.

  • Tony E says:

    I personally think we will sign more than 3 players, after all he supposedly wants last seasons 3 loanees back. Add to that we need to sign at least one keeper, dependant upon whether Townsend sits on our bench or, my preferred option, is loaned out to gain experience. That’s 5 without any decent back up for Donaldson. Then if he could move out certain dead wood, who knows!

  • KRO says:

    I imagine most players will be on holidays before discussing things with family members well into next month, the lack of signings right now does not scare me one bit. Assuming Rowett does not find himself with millions to spend from a Gray sale i am hoping for ~ 3 perm signings from free transfers and a few loan signings from the ‘top’ prem teams. Chelsea have an excellent youth team needing a chance at regular first team football… Lets grab a few of those!

  • Mitchell says:

    I would imagine one of the biggest mistakes Forest made last season was letting Tesche go out on loan. They were awful as a team and my gut feeling is that after the final game, Freedman would have made a quick dash to get him prepared to be a regular next season.Tesche is quality and Forest could not get a better replacement. As regards Fabbrini, not strong enough for me. His history is not good as a winner and more important is the fact that no manager has been prepared to make him a decent long term member of their team plans. Pretty on the eye yes, end product missing. We all yearn for a Duggary or an edge of the seat player., but Fab. Isn’t the answer. Give me the foraging runs of a Dave Langan or an Archie Gemmil any day.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Freedman might not be able to get out of Tesche what Rowett did,likewise with Morrison and his previous manager at Charlton.Its a managers prerogative to get the best out of his players and I believe Rowett has got the Midas touch in this respect especially when you look at what he did with Gleeson and Shinnie.I would like to think that Tesche would jump at the chance to work with GR again (wages permitting) instead of turning out for the Forest stiffs from where he was plucked.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Froderingham returns from holiday in Marbella tomorrow. The word is he will be going to Birmingham to sign on the dotted line.

  • River says:

    KRO in staffsblue we trust lol

  • AussieBlue says:

    Mates, just a bit of Ozzie news. This past week and a bit Chelsea and Spurs have been over for friendlies against Sydney FC. they both won 1-0, which is quite respectable for Sydney and Morhino commented how surprised he was at Sydney FC’s ‘aggression’ and play. The marvelous thing was there were over 83,000 at each game! That’s not a typo, 83, nearly 84,000. One of the Spurs players said it’s the largest crowd he’s ever played in front of. Pont is, Australia is soccer mad but we lose all of our quality players overseas because the big money is still in Rugby, AFL and cricket.

    It’s changing and BCFC might do a lot worse than scout out some of the A League players over here for development. They won’t cost as much and will adapt to the higher skill level of Championship play very quickly. One of Sydney FC’s players Bernie Ibini has just been signed by Club Brugge Belgium; I would have loved to have seen him at Blues. He’s 22, a Nigerian immigrant from when he was small and a great forward with heaps of pluck.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Oh Stan lazarides , what would we do to have another left sided player like him , a great left wing back and just the player we need now … A striker like Mark Viduka or Cahill in there
    Prime or a goalie like Mark Bosnich in his prime though he played for the vile or Harry Kewell . …. A few of those Aussies would do me … Gary go down under now!! Kro

  • bluenoserob says:

    If we cannot resign any of Rob Kiernan, Robert Tesche and Diego Fabbrini , we would be in real danger of starting next season with a weaker squad than we finished last .Even with a little more money to spend this season it shows how hard it will be for GR when other clubs reserve/ out of favour players are way out of our league wage wise.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I fear exactly the same bluenoserob, the squad we finished with would have a chance of the playoffs but as it stands now there’s no chance BUT Gary Rowett as not done is shopping yet so I reserve judgement and I will give my honest opinion as always on Friday 7th August the day before our first game when we will know what we’ve got . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think we’re all getting a bit twitchy about signings.. but that’s only natural as we’re now into June and we’re seeing other clubs tying up transfers. But, I’ll sit back and wait and reserve my judgement until the first game of the season.. see how things look by then. Once we see the squad, we’ll have a good idea what will be a realistic target for the season.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Wes Foderingham looks a cert now as both forest and reading have backed out now as they both say that he’s going to Blues and we’re see on that one .. He’s only 24 so still very young and ime happy with that though he was not good in the playoff games he’s someone who can and will improve and until he plays for us in a game again I will reserve judgement .. It’s a start and let’s hope it continues through the positions that we need to fill . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      He must be cheap, because I still feel there are better options. When my son and I watched the play off games, we both said we wouldn’t want him at Blues… and look what happens. :) But, like you, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until he plays for us.

      That just leaves a right back, a left back, a centre back, two midfielders (3 if Gray and Arthur leave) and someone to push Donaldo up front. That’s a lot of work to do in a month or so. Good luck to him.

      • Richard Granfield says:

        Staffs…….I too saw the play-off games and was equally unimpressed, but the Swindon Town supporters blog was full a praise for him and was sorry too see him go.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Like I said earlier Richard, I was far from impressed.. but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until I’ve seen him play for us. Perhaps he’ll perform better behind a better quality defence.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Next season if any club goes in to administration then it’s 12 points deducted .. Thank god that doesent apply to us ! .. Cleverly going to Everton and Benteke on his way .. It’s not all doom and gloom is it guys ! Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Burton sign Callum rilley .. Respect ! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Arsenal Ladies have signed England U17 goalkeeper Sian Rogers from Blues Ladies. :-O

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