Often Partisan

The Dimmy Debate

Although I promised not to dwell on speculation with regards to Demarai Gray, I wanted to touch on what I think is the heart of the debate: to paraphrase the Clash “should he stay or should he go?”

I asked the question on Twitter and Facebook if Blues should sell Gray provided the money is reinvested in the team. I added that caveat for the simple reason that if the money isn’t going to go back into the team then I think the question becomes a bit moot; after all, who wants to sell players without getting something from it?

You can read the resultant debates here and here. As you can see, Blues fans are very split on this one.

My personal belief is that the time has come for Blues to cash in on Dimmy – but not for the reasons many have given.

Firstly, let’s be serious about his value. It’s been oft-reported that there is a transfer release clause which has been given a figure of £3.75m. I’m led to believe that while not 100% accurate – it’s more complicated than a straight fee – it’s in the right ballpark. This means that anyone who thinks we’re going to get much more than that in cash is going to be disappointed. It’s also been oft-reported that Liverpool have some sort of clause with respect to Dimmy; again, I think that has been over-simplified and slightly misreported but that is a moot point as I also understand that clause is no longer in effect.

I can already hear people moaning about that but I think people need to think past direct monetary terms. £3.75million in one hit is much more valuable to Blues right now than say £5-6million over two or three years (which is the normal way transfers work). Yes, other young players have gone for more money but their teams haven’t been in the sort of stricken position Blues have been in – and thus Blues have been in a poorer position to negotiate from.

The plus side though is that with the £7.2million from TTA being used to ensure Blues can actually have a half-decent wage bill Blues aren’t having to sell players to survive – any transfer profits should be able to be reinvested into the team. Obviously, if Blues don’t replace Gray with other players then questions should and will be asked of Panos, EY and TTA.

That doesn’t mean a direct transfer fee spending of £3.75million will happen – especially if more than one player comes in. Any player who comes in will have to be paid wages – and while Dimmy is one of the better earners in the squad his wages aren’t anywhere near high for the Championship. If we pay a player £20,000 per week (and there are players in this division on far more), it’s £1million per year that needs to be added to the wage budget.

All that being said, I believe Dimmy’s actual value (as opposed to monetary value) to the team has peaked. At this moment he’s still learning but he’s getting double-teamed every game as opposition sides know he’s one of our few creative outlets. It’s a lot of weight to be borne on 19 year old shoulders and Blues might be better off letting him go and bringing in a few players to strengthen the squad as a whole rather than having to rely on one wunderkind winger.

I wouldn’t loan Dimmy back either. I don’t see the point in developing him further for another team once he’s been sold; I believe in a clean break.

If you asked my opinion, I do think Dimmy will leave us sooner rather than later. It hurts to have to sell young talent but it’s ever been thus; bigger clubs will pick off smaller clubs for their best players. The good news is that in players like Viv Solomon-Otabor for example there are other young players ready to take on the mantle as the new Blues wonderkid. If selling Dimmy can help stabilise the team further to allow youth to develop and flourish, it can only be a good thing.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials


47 Responses to “The Dimmy Debate”

  • atko says:

    I have to agree with everything there although I don’t see us needing a direct replacement rather than strengthen other areas. Personally I think we need a creative midfielder who is proven. We have enough strikers on the books for playing one up front and we can buy all the strikers out there but it’s no good if we can’t create chances. For me, this is the one area we need to move mountains for. We can’t rely on Cotts all the time, even he proved he had off days. The more creative we can be the more chances our striker(s) have. We can’t be getting on their backs for not taking their one or two only chances in a game when the rest of the game. What did we sing “feed the Hors and he will score”? It’s about time we started feeding the Don or Vaughan more.

    • Lee says:

      Your completely contradicting yourself, so you say sell him but don’t replace him, that leaves us with cotts, maghoma and soloman, soloman, none of them are exactly ripping defences apart and supplying decent balls into the box to feed Donaldson or Vaughan, so you’ve weakened the side, gray is a 19 year old kid coming on leaps and bounds, selling him now would be ridiculous, keep him and allow him to develop a while longer then make good money on him, he’s head and shoulders above everything at the club right now which basically shows why we go through stages of over performing then looking like relegation fodder, until we have money to build a decent side with decent players we have to accept that we are not in the market to compete with promotion chasing sides, and selling your best players for nothing is only the actions of a small club

      • Mark mac says:

        Lee you cant being cotteril into the equation in regards to your first comment because he has been out injured. In fact i would say judging by how we have missed his goals and his assists that cotteril may have more worth to the team than dimmy.

        • Lee says:

          I can, because if we didn’t have gray right now whilst cotterill is injured our creativity would actually be zero, both players are important to the side particularly as we only play 1 up front, plus you need competition for places to keep players motivated, we all dreaded the situation if Donaldson was to get injured and now we’ve seen it it makes us realise just how much we depend on every aspect of his game when we play the system we do, when we have everyone fit and a bit of competition for places we look a decent side, couple of injuries and we’re in trouble, which is why we need to add to what we have, not take away

  • atko says:

    Sorry that should read when they’re watching the rest of the game. One or two chances in a game simply isn’t enough in this league.

  • Texas Pete says:

    NO. It makes no sense to sell him. We would cash in to get two players of less value gains nothing. He isnt scoring and neither are any other players and that is the issue. So get rid of all of them and bring in others. Removing one of a team is destructive and desparate. We are not in that state. The availability of cash as hinted at by GR is not connected to the sale of Dimmy. How about we bring in players on the basis that Dimmy has value and cash in at season’s end if we need money. We must add value to the squad not dilute it.
    No, do not sell one of the best, especially mid-season.

  • alex hurley says:

    Spot on atko. Been saying for ages gleeson/davis/kieftenbeld are too similar & too limited. Look at the difference tesche & fabrinni made – shinie wont ever be in thier league & Toral has much to learn.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I’m really not that bothered whether we let him go or not, but personally, I would get what we can for him now. Yes, he might have potential, but at the moment, I fail to see his value to the team. One goal and a couple of assists doesn’t earn you a nailed on place in the team as far as I’m concerned. Yes, he can frighten defenders with his pace, at first. But once they realise he doesn’t really hurt you, they tend to relax a bit. If in fact teams are doubling up on him, why aren’t we exploiting the space that’s being created by them doing that? That’s where we’re coming up short. I think that, also, with Gray out of the picture, Viv Solomon-Otabor will have more chance to develop… so it could be a win-win for us.


    • Dave Mann says:

      Flatters to deceive and always as done up to now so if he goes then as long as the money is used for the positions that need strengthening then no problem as far as Ime concerned …. it’s ashame that over the last four years or so we’ve had to sell our assets but until we get owners in with money to burn that will always be the case so we shouldn’t be supprised what so ever , there’s more youngsters ready to step in and take up the mantle , that’s the world of Birmingham City and we should be use to it by now . Kro

  • Lee says:

    One problem I’ve always noticed about blues fans is we have always been quick to want to sell our youngsters, they’re over rated or not doing it, not pulling their weight, it’s a sign of desperation to bring in new blood but has never paid off, Redmond and but land both doing well whilst we have a squad full of mediocre players that we feel now need to kick on, selling youngsters at 19 years old for peanuts simply can’t be a good thing, it all sounds very desperate for a change for the sake of change, but lands value right now must be at least 10m, Redmond easily double what we sold him for in the space of a couple of years, villa sold two of their best players and replaced them with 7-8 foreign players that are nothing more than average, look at them now, the money you will get for gray will not replace him with a player of any calibre, you’d have to take a punt on a lower league player or spend massive wages on a premiership journey man, whilst blues fans have this mentality of a small club we’ll always be a small club, hounding out everything good that comes along, bit embarrassing really

  • Mitchell says:

    Simple question- what does Gray currently bring to our team?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Youth and pace only , skill, dribbling, beating defenders and getting to the bye line and scoring enough goals NO, but he’s 19 and will improve with age ..finding a positive amongst negatives is always good for the soul so that’s what I always try to do .:-) kro

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Plenty of negativs to sift through Dave, so give us your list of positives when it is available

  • Dave Mann says:

    I thought I mentioned is youth is pace and is age and that he will get better .. There’s your list of positives Julian or did you just care to ignore them ! Kro

  • Bluesfan says:

    It makes laugh some of our fans saying he’s ripping defences apart when was that oh the reading game last season he got noticed after that and he’s done nothing since good at running with the ball but no end product. I want to keep all our better players but if it’s the only way Rowett can bring in players then they need to sell him.

  • Dave Mann says:

    If he’s ripping defences apart ii must be in some fans dreams because in reality he certainly is not … Fulham and Leeds away he played well but that’s it for me but on a positive note he has got the above qualities I mentioned on my last post but that’s it !! .. Agree with what you say Bluesfan , spot on . Kro

    • Lee says:

      He’s a 19 year old kid, I’d understand the criticism if he were at least in his 20’sand was bought in and we’d paid a fee, but like I say, blues fans seem happy to slag our youngsters off and put them down, want them sold Asap so we can sign better players, it makes me cringe, no ones saying he’s tearing defences apart, but the lad is born and bred, he could have left for bigger money but wants to stay and develop at his home town club, something you don’t see very often in football nowadays,I notice you say he should be sold to bring in other players, when you say players, what exactly are you expecting more players to be like on 3-4m fee and wages, I’ve no doubt if he does go, and he will be successful, you’ll be ripping into the cheap players that replace him in no time, but you be happy ripping into a 19 year old kid, it’s your prerogative

      • Dave Mann says:

        I agree Lee that he’s only 19 an home town boy and as bags of potential but unfortunetly because of our position off the pitch we ain’t gonna keep him …. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than him having a barn stormer of a game today and banging in a couple of goals , absolutely fantastic if that happened .. if we were premier league it wouldn’t be a problem but were according to a lot of fans a mediocre championship team and if that don’t change then we will carry on loosing our young talent . Kro

        • Lee says:

          It’s inevitable he’ll leave one day, but remember it’s him that wanted to stay, he’s not the one that wanted to walk when everyone said he’d gone, what will change that quicker will be when he reads some of the comments on here and other social media basically kicking him in the knackers for showing some loyalty, I’m sick of hearing negative comments on our youngsters then 2 years down the line seeing them flourish in the premier league, our off field problems may not be helping but when we start laying into our players on social media it’s not exactly helping the situation neither, when the going gets tough that’s what we’re here to do, support the lads and get behind them

          • Dave Mann says:

            I do that every game Lee and support every player in a Blues shirt , I never boo, never get personal when supporting the lads and never single any one out for abuse , not my style .. Gray is a good talent but I can only go on what ive seen over the last two seasons and that’s the way it is , sorry if others don’t see it that way . Kro

          • Matt says:

            Bang on Lee – fully agree and sick of seeing so many negative diatribes posted by ‘experts’… give talent time to flourish-pity it’s not chumpionship manager..

  • Brian says:

    Let’s face it we need to build a new team with decent quality in key positions, just like the top teams have already. The top teams spend millions on transfer fees and on wages and for the short term we won’t be doing that. Selling Dimmy will help but more needs to happen and this window is not the time to spend.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Dimmi Gray would benefit from having better players around him. As Staffs said as he is getting double teamed then good players would know how to exploit the space created by that for the benefit of the team. He had a dip in form last season but improved markedly when Fabbrini came in as defences suddenly had another highly skilled player to worry about. The lack of goals particularly in open play show we have become very predictable with very low levels of creativity.
    If the £3.75m release clause is set in stone and someone offers the cash up front then I am assuming we have no choice but to take it if Gray wants to go the club who offers it, The only way we get more is if a bidding war starts up. Would GR get all that money to spend on the team anyway whether it be wages or transfer fees.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Obviously Mr Rowett is going to say he’d prefer to keep Gray.. but if he was offered the £3m to improve the team, I think he’d snatch their hand off. Only my opinion of course.

  • Being a realist I don’t think we can afford to keep him , for one if he doesn’t want to go surely the release clause is non existent , as we stand we had another 19 crosses without a goal , in about 100 crosses we have scored about one goal , to me that is telling us something , if TTA give us some hint on what is happening then I would say no , but as Dan as said we have cover , another thing is that we need more goals to compete with those above us , if we can’t get a striker good enough then two goal scoring midfield players will do , in the ilk of …… conor hourihane , …Marcus Maddison……Sean Murray .as without a glut of goalscorers we are weak when we have an injury crisis …and also a defender is needed , a fullback with a lot of pace ….kro.

  • AndyP says:

    I know he’s been doubled up on but that doesn’t excuse not been able to deliver a ball higher than 2foot of the deck from a free kick as at Sheffield on Saturday ,20 seconds later from a good chance to get back in the game were 3-0 down I also think a spell on the bench might do him good. At the moment it’s a given that he starts and after all coming on as an impact player with 30 mins to go might be better for team.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We desperately need goals from behind Donaldson. Toral hasn’t really worked that well there, Shinnie hasn’t worked there, Gray hasn’t worked there. We can’t rely on Donaldson, who has only scored in 3 games this season.

  • Toby says:

    In an ideal world you play players that are playing well and consistent.Gray isn’t doing either of these but you can say that about at least half the team.Ì always find it odd when maghoma gets subbed even though he’s been better than gray.If we do sell him for over 3 mill and the majority of the money is re invested in the team then I woder what positions would be a priority.Yes we need to score more goals but you’ll win no games when you can’t defend.It’s a dilemma for sure and with the state of the club off the field then it’s not going to change this season.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I also think that having a left full back behind him who doesn’t overlap doesn’t help Gray. Cotterill has always benefited from Caddis being suited to and prepared to drive forward and overlap which takes defenders away and creates space.

  • Tony says:

    Redmond,Butland, Mutch, have all been virtually given away Redmond is now a proven Premier player, Butland will be England’s No 1 for a decade Mutch is decent too.Taken together those three are probably worth in excess of20million what did we get for them?.
    The thing with gray is this he needs good players around him, he cant be expected to do a job in defence too, which is what has been asked of him sometimes, he’s not the type of player for that it has forever been the case that skilful players need the workhorses around them.
    Its obvious we cant give him the platform he needs to perform that is why I say reluctantly to sell him.
    People go on about his age 19 may I refer you once again to one Trevor Francis, that kid was doing 6 times more than gray at 16 years of age, yes I know TF Was a once in a lifetime player for us but he’s the yardstick I go by.
    Sell him but for nothing less Than 7 million, also Dan I don’t want to hear about the wage costs its always been the case wages have to be paid, most fans never consider that its only you that considers it.

  • Blues fan says:

    I think the excuse he’s only nineteen is wearing a bit thin now he’s got talent we have all seen it but he’s not consistent enough like I said he got noticed after the reading game and he strolls around as if he’s made it that’s not good enough. And all the fans saying we are not being positive is crazy we want blues to win every game but we say the truth if blues play well they get praise if they are rubbish in a game we let them know some of our fans need to get thier rose tinted glasses off.

  • swissjonny says:

    Get rid in my view.What concerns me is GR’s lack of experience in the transfer markets.We need someone or some players who can make a genuine difference now.Hes a nice lad but sadly this game of ours is very much a business now.I respect immensly and congratulate GR for his motivational skills and getting us to where we are now.We now need to see if hes up to it on the business side.He needs a wiley old Chief Exec with lots of football experience and contacts to ride shotgun.

  • Dan Hickman says:

    Unfortunately this is the legacy of CY and PP’s mismanagement of our club. The sale of Redmond, Butland Mutch etc has, quite understandably, bittered and twisted us as fans. Selling a player like Gray would previously have caused a bit of moaning and grumbling but against the backdrop of seeing the life being sucked out of the club it turns in to an issue that will cause more fan divides, more fans staying away and those that do come to the stadium being jaded. If the money was spent wisely then I personally think cashing in on Gray wouldn’t be that bad, even if it did leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. He is probably less effective than Maghoma and it is glaringly obvious that losing Gray and having VSO/Cotterill/Maghoma in there but at the same time having a more expansive midfielder and an improvement at left back would give us a better, more rounded TEAM, which is the most important thing, is it not?

  • PaulB says:

    Really well written as you would expect. I completely agree with you aswell.

  • Waycoolblue says:

    Its all just pepper talk from crap-a$$ rags spreading muck! Why would Liverpool have any deal on Gray pre set who are they to us and what’s in it for Birmingham nothing so its a lot of bull crap. And so is this so called release clause of £3.75m no club in any league would set such a clause for a player they have had offers of £6.5m for and rejected. If Gray is sold it will be a cash up front deal with add-on’s Some where in the regen of £7-8m in total to a top premiership club. According to Tom ross GR as money to spend on three new permanent singings so any money made from Gray would improve the quality of players we are in for he would not use it to overall the team he will still be in for three players only. KRO

  • Waycoolblue says:

    I have no Idea what your talking about you must have me mixt up with someone ells.
    I only had an opinion I have not tried to start anything.

  • David L says:

    Appreciate this comment is a little late to the party, but up in t’North we’ve had rivers to look at !

    Anyway, seems to me this is all about maximizing potential.

    Sure Gray has the potential to be a top player at the highest level. Likewise if we kept him, I’m sure he could help lead the club to a top level too.

    But all that is maybe 2 years down the line…now we’ve had a taste of what success feels like, are we patient enough to wait?

    Let’s not be tribal about this, but say AV offered us £3m + Agbonlahor for Gray? Or Pulis offered £3m + Lambert for Gray?. I think we’d be ahead if we accepted any deal like that.I’m sure other similar deals are available from less ‘toxic’ clubs if the thought of local ‘rejects’ upsets you.

    That would be using potential to maximize current situation, allow more fresh talent (S-O etc) to develop and provide more desperately-needed firepower at this level.

    • Mark mccausland says:

      I took your comment seriously until you mentioned the name agbonlahor and thinking the squad would be ahead with that.

      Genuinely the funniest joke I have heard all year!!!

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