Often Partisan

Keep, Sell or Release – Forwards

With the end of the season nearing and with so many players out of contract I thought it would be a good idea to go through the squad and analyse who I think we should keep, who we can get away with selling and who needs to be released. This is the fourth of five installments of that analysis.

Marlon King

Before injury struck and ruled King out for the remainder of the season, he was the principal goal threat in a Blues shirt. Fourteen goals in thirty appearances is a decent record for the London-born Jamaican forward and at times it seemed like he was almost carrying the team with his goals as none of his striker colleagues could find the back of the onion bag.

King remains under contract at Blues for a further 12 months but I think this summer will be a difficult decision for the club. Marlon is undoubtedly a goal threat, a proper goalscorer at this level but his knee isn’t in the best condition and as King gets older he may find it flare up more and more frequently. I get the impression that Clark isn’t King’s biggest fan (and vice versa) and I wouldn’t be surprised if we did sell King in the summer – a fee plus a large wage off the books would be good for our financial well-being. That being said, I would keep Marlon – I think he’s still got goals in him and I think we will need them next season.

Peter Lovenkrands

With Blues having been linked with “Shabba” a few times prior to his capture at the start of this season it’s been disappointing that when we’ve finally got him he doesn’t look good enough. I hoped that his versatility would help improve the team on the left side but the pace he once had seems to have gone and I agree with an observation I heard that Lovenkrands needs chances dished up on a plate.

Annoyingly, he’s got a year left (plus the option of a further year) on his deal, which means we’re stuck with him unless we can negotiate a settlement. With Lovenkrands now 33 years old I think criticism needs to fall somewhere that we offered a player of his age and lack of resale value a 2 year deal when maybe a one year deal with a year’s option might have been more prudent. He’s probably a decent bloke but he’s not what we need at the club and he’s a definite release if it can be sorted.

Adam Rooney

With Rooney playing out on loan all season at Swindon Town I can understand that people might have forgotten that he is a Blues player – but he is. The loan is only a loan, with nothing in place that secures his transfer to Swindon at the end of the season. Furthermore, whilst Rooney’s deal is up at the end of the season Blues do have an option on it.

That being said, it’s not an option I would take up. Rooney has only scored nine in twenty-nine appearances for the Robins and hasn’t been that impressive, making eighteen of his twenty-seven league appearances for Swindon from the bench. Therefore he’s a definite release for me.

Nikola Zigic

I don’t think that there has been a player who has divided Blues fans quite as much as Nikola Zigic. His well-publicised massive wages and incremental contract have made many Blues fans angry about the big Serb, whilst on the other side his fans (and I will admit to being in this camp) point to his goals and his invaluable contributions at key times to the success of the team.

That being said, his wages are the single most biggest drain on resources at the club, and he’s a luxury we just cannot afford. As much as I love the big man – and I will be honest, I do love him – Blues need to engineer a move for him in the summer to get his wages off the books. I’d love us to be able to afford to keep him, but we just cannot afford to. Unfortunately, should the club not be able to move him on they will be forced to as he is under contract until June 2014. Release if at all possible.

Wes Thomas

I have been critical of Wes in the past, but I will admit that he’s grown on me somewhat. He’s not the greatest of finishers but he really does work hard and his pace and tenacity do cause problems for opposition defences – much in the same way as Cameron Jerome did. His return of three goals isn’t that bad actually, and he’s definitely made positive contributions of late to help the team win points.

As with our other loanees, the decision to keep Wes isn’t in our hands. He’s under contract until the end of next season with Bournemouth; however he is out of favour there having been loaned out three times this season (Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blues). If a deal could be set up for him to come to Blues permanently on a free transfer or for a nominal fee then I think I would pursue it as I think he could be a useful squad player. Keep if possible.

The final part will be tomorrow and will be about the younger players

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35 Responses to “Keep, Sell or Release – Forwards”

  • romanblue says:

    marlon will be sold,zigic 50k your having a laugh,rooney not good enough,lovenkrands-overated,overpaid get rid.i would keep thomas .i would if we can keep King.

  • Blue Steve says:

    Essentially most of the forward decisions are out of LC’s / BCFC’s hands. I agree we should release Rooney and try to keep Thomas but we are stuck with the rest. If we can get his knee sorted Marlon King will still score goals. I would spend our limited budget on the Midfield next season providing we are unable to move on Zigic or Lovenkrands,

  • Aj says:

    Lovenkrands has been a huge disappointment… I worry about King’s long term fitness too, if his knees are starting to give up now, they’ll only continue to flare up at this late stage of his career.

    I’d keep Rooney though, might not be the best player in the world, but for a squad player, coming off the bench now and again, he’s no worse than Wes Thomas…

  • BarthDomak says:

    For me, Wes is the worst blues player, no sorry, the i rest player ive ever seen in my life, keep? Sign? I’d put the clown out of his misery

  • prewarblue says:

    I agree with your selection apart from “Thomas”,,,,,can we really afford to have another “Jerome” type player ?,,,,one who miss,s more often than not ?,,,,,I agree he has pace and causes problems for opposing teams but his main failing is an inability to put the ball in the net,,,,,,”Jerome” cost us dearly and has been proved as overated at Stoke,,,,,his saving grace was that the club did not lose money over his transfer away,,,,,,signing another of his type on a permanent contract would be a mistake.

    Like yourself I admire Zigic,,,,,why I do not know,,,,he wont /cant jump,,,,,moves with all the grace of an arthoritic carthorse,,,,would lose in a race with a snail,,,,,,but he does score [not only vital ] goals when given a chance [ and he can be bothered to make the effort ] with a decent service from midfield,,,,,,Blues have tried to move him on in the past,,,,but the wage situation is the stumbling block,,,,you wouldnt change your job for one that pays less money,,,neither will he and no other club , English or Continental will pay those rates for a player of his age,,,,so we are stuck for good or bad with him

    Rooney was never a good bet to make a first team place his own,,,,get what we can
    Lovencrands came as a last good payday signing for him,,,,,get rid

  • sutton apex says:

    king will be sold in the summer , hopefully big zig will go too to help finances ( we will miss him ) – hopefully lee clark discovers a wonderboy forward otherwise thomas and lovenkrands will be our first pick forward line – i fear relegation looming unless new buyers are found

  • mark says:

    sorry to say I disagree about the views on Thomas I would keep for next season, and Marlon if possible. Rooney,lovencrands, Zigic i wish them all the best………………but bye bye…..

  • blues111 says:

    First time on
    Hello all
    Sell Marlon King, hearing he is a bit of a bad apple around the talented youngsters we have got at the club and this has come from a well respected and very much liked ex player.
    We are scoring goals and we look better as a unit since he has been out and the team spirit is there for all to see….Coincidence ?
    KRO

    • mark says:

      maybe your well- respected ex-player can come OP AND VOICE his own opinion then?

      • Ali Duncan says:

        The first statement is hearsay which I never deal in but you make a fair point regarding the shape and performance of the team since Marlon’s absense.

  • Ali Duncan says:

    Ziggy is going nowhere and I’m happy with him upfront with whoever. Yes he rightly draws some criticism but he is also our talisman and I’ve always liked the guy even if I constantly question his final product, goals-per-game-ratio, commitment or ability to score from 6 yards out with only the keeper to beat.

    I too was initially unsure of Wes but he is similar to Jerome that he puts himself about, makes himself a nuisance amongst other teams back lines. We often need this kind of battering ram player and even of the bench in the last 15-20 minutes he could be a very useful tool.

    • mark says:

      maybe your right Ali with regards to Ziggy situation. Imo we need forwards who are prepared to be greedy at times , and score their goals, but also fall in line of the work ethic of the team, hopefully clark got his eyes fixed on the next Jordan Rhodes……..blues are crying out for forwards of this mould. Give me a young Kevin Phillips any day of the week…………..

  • mark says:

    even at the age 39 kevin Phillips got 5 goals in 10 appearances for palace this season…

  • The Francis Fake says:

    These articles have been very well constructed. One common theme is the 3 signings last summer of Ambrose, Lovenkrands & Mullins were pretty much disastarous. Had we have signed 3 other alternatives we may well have got into the play offs. Unfortunately, we are stuck with them for another year and they could cause other players to be moved on to finance their wages. I am praying for a takeover.

    • Ali Duncan says:

      Ambrose is one I’d reserve judgement on as he has been injured for a long period and at the start of the season he was being played on the left which was well out of position. I work with quitea few Palace and they say he can drift in and out of games but produce sublimer mooments of quality with telling passes and barnstorming goals. However they say he is best playing a free role just behind a lone striker or a front two and with LC’s model I can’t seee him getting the chance.

      However I totally agree regarding Mullins. Yes he has been injured and is bound to be a little rusty but he was way off the pace when he came on on Tuesday night. He should have been fresh but he gave the ball away on too many occasions and although robust in appearance didn’t look so when on the ball and got knocked off it easily.

      The continued exceptional form of Ravel and the good performances of Keith Fahey before injury show what the ideal midfield combo is. I am praying that we can get Morrison for one more season. Should this happen then the other two will be purely squaf players making cup game cameos.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    According to the B’ham Mail, there’s an agreement in place for Rooney to join Swindon at the end of the season. No idea if it’s true.

    http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/birmingham-city-analysis-colin-tattum-2767395

  • tmsblues says:

    Moving Zigic would make room for at least 5 good champ players at £12k pw !He will however not move and like the 3 signings of LC their salaries will considerably limit any progress or options for the year ahead.It doesn’t say much for LC’s signing capability really. King on the other hand is worth his salary though if a bad influence then move him on for sure. But goals are the most important factor in the game so without him wher would we find them? Only a new owner will sort this out but that is increasingly looking as likely as Ziggy moving on !

  • ZarateImissYou says:

    I would only keep King.
    In an ideal world I´d keep Zigic as well, but we can´t afford him. A shame as he seems to score very important goals at very important times.
    Up in Scotland two old Blues wellknowns, who have taken a dramatic paycut just to play, are out of contract at the end of the season – James McFadden and Kris Boyd. Worth a try?

    • mark says:

      Kris Boyd would be worth a punt, I am of the opinion james fadden had his best days, would prefer to keep Ravel…..

  • ZarateImissYou says:

    Looking forward to your “Released Players – who to sign” within the next weeks… ;-)

  • Dan H says:

    Blues need to search the lower leagues to unearth another Charlie Austin or Jordan Rhodes, look at the scoring records, maybe swap a few players and small fees involved for players like:

    1) Patrick Madden – Yeovil – 22 Goals in 34 appearances Age 23
    2) Leon Clarke – Coventry – 21 Goals in 31 appearances Age 28
    3) Will Grigg Walsall – 20 goals in 43 appearances Age 22
    4) Tom Pope – Port Vale – 33 goals in 49 appearances Age 28
    5) Nahki Wells – Bradford – 22 goals in 50 appearances Age 23
    6) Matt Green – Mansfield – 29 goals in 47 appearances Age 26

    Or look at the relegated sides from the Championship like Midfielder Steve Davies scoring goals in a poor side

  • blaneh says:

    I’ll be honest, I think alot more will go out this summer than come in. I think we will see alot more from our academy next season the likes of Arthur, Packwood, Hales, Gnahore, Hawker to play a bigger role.

    For me LC’s priority area for the summer has to be defence. We have scored 60 goals so far this season, which while not being the dizzy heights of our 78 last year, isnt bad. Trouble we have had is that we have conceded far too many goals (65) compared to last year (51). For me we need to start building from the back, as best we can, with the funds available (if any), id rather have a solid back four that concedes 30 goals a season than a jordan rhodes who scores em (look where Blackburn are?). Although to be brutaly honest, im a greedy bugger an I’d want both!

    KRO, 3 points against Dirty Leeds on saturday please Lee.

    • The Flying Pig says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Blaneh; whilst I’d love to see us winning games 4-3 rather than 1-0, experience suggests you win nowt if you concede as many as we have.

      I’m not sure if this player quite meets the definition of forward, but Paterson at Walsall looks a bit useful too.

      Of those mentioned by Dan H. I’d like to see us have a punt on either Madden or Grigg – always accepting that it is a gamble.

    • mark says:

      Hopefully if Davis stays we can find young defender to slot in with Davis, otherwise we will be starting from fresh maybe with two new central defenders, you right about goals conceded this season 25-30 goals is too many really, but unfortunately there been no consistency in that area due to injuries. Same with Marlon maybe he could have bagged 25 goals this season. IMO I thought it would take between 80-100 goals to win Championship. Hey great be proven right occassionly lol

    • Dan H says:

      I think it’s inevitable that Davies will be sold in the Summer, I just hope if he goes to Norwich we can get a good price and Leon Barnett as part of the deal as he’s been playing well on loan at Cardiff.

      Blues really missed out with Ben Turner who moved to Cardiff, we couldn’t even afford the £400k for a blues fan and young defender who is now worth around £5m.

      I’d swap Adam Rooney for Paul Caddis and Aden Flint at Swindon, 23 and 6ft 6 looks like he’ll be a good player

  • Johnners says:

    Interesting thread. Reading it makes me realise that we could be looking at a completely new starting front line next season. I rate Lee Clark as a spotter of young talent and I get the impression his leadership style works better with the younger players i.e. they put up with his aggression and belligerence in a way the old pros struggle with. I can see him bringing in a couple of new young strikers and let’s hope the same network that brought us Morrison, Caddis, Ferguson, Lita and Hall will bear more fruits for next season. Zig, King and Lovenkrands are wily old pros who need to be put out to stud. I could be persuaded to persevere with one of Rooney or Thomas as back up to two new young colts plus an academy guy like Koby Arthur making up the fourth berth. It’s not title winning stuff but that raises a bigger question that I would like to see discussed on this forum i.e. what is a realistic goal for Blues next season – automatic promotion, play offs, mid table? Play offs would be sufficient for me since I can’t see us being ready for the premiership in one year’s time.

  • Dean BCFC says:

    In among this we’re presuming that Lee Clark will be with us. Not sure if the Blackpool thing was all press talk, but given what board support he’s had and how he ‘s brought along the young imports I reckon a few clubs may be looking . Also he’s had a load of stick from the ‘fans’ and I’ve not heard a LC army or give us a wave yet from our silent home support ( not to mention the decline of KRO )
    Maybe that can be rectified at the last 2 homes , but I don’t think so . We get what we deserve.
    PS. I’m too old to sing , I just listen

  • Marky mark says:

    It all depends on who is at the helm in the summer, if its CY then we will be looking at the kids and gambling on lower league potentials.

    If we get new owners then a whole new strike force could be in.

    As for King, perhaps we are better without him ? He stood out first half of the season when the rest most certainly were not, apart from a couple of games I don’t think we have missed him,


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