Often Partisan

Nikola Zigic, Loan Ranger?

Whilst watching Blues View on the Birmingham Mail site yesterday I picked up on a throwaway remark made by Colin Tattum, and it sparked a little bit of an idea. It concerned Nikola Zigic, who is very possibly one of the players McLeish will sell on to generate funds. The word Tatts used was “loan” – and I honestly believe it could be an excellent idea.

The fact is, whilst I have no doubt in my mind that Nikola Zigic would rip apart the Championship, I cannot believe he would want to play in the second tier. His wages, which are rumoured to be around the 50k per week mark would be extraordinarily expensive in the second tier, and as such you’d think Blues would be looking to move him on. It seems certain that there is interest in Spain for him, and even though he is 31 in September, you’d think he’s got a good two or three years left in him at least. Zigic has three years left on his Blues deal, so it’s not going to be a case of paying him off as one newspaper stupidly suggested; he’s got to have some transfer value.

However, flogging probably our best striker of last season isn’t going to be good for long term purposes. If we do manage to bounce back next year, we’re going to need to bring in players of the calibre of our lanky Serb. Selling a player only to buy someone as expensive within 12 months, with all the associated risks of the player not settling in etc seems a risk. Loaning him out for the season though – well, it’s got potential.

The way I’d do the deal would be to loan him for 12 months to a top flight club in Spain; we know he’s played there before, the interest is there. The club would pay a loan fee – maybe 500k, maybe a million – and also, more crucially, his wages. Thus we would have made (including the savings in his wages) £3.1-3.6mil, and the player would still be ours. Sure, we could throw in a first option to the loaning club – so if we do want to sell him, they’ve got first dibs on him for a roughly agreed fee. However, if we wanted him back – say cos we’ve been promoted first go – well, we’d just take him back as his loan expired. After all, he’d still be contracted to us for two years.

There are potential stumbling blocks, of course. It’s curious that a player who was unfit for the last few weeks of the season was fit enough to play and score for his country this week. There are rumours (and I must stress no more than rumours) that Nikola decided he didn’t want to play for us towards the end of the season; that his injury wasn’t as bad as was being made out and that he’d fallen out with McLeish. I have to stress, the club vehemently denied that when I asked them at the time if there was any basis to these rumours. In saying that, if there was unhappiness from Zigic, then we’d have to sell – we’d have no choice. However if it was just a case of him not wanting to play in the second tier, a loan might be an answer that would suit all parties.



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