Premier League Transfers – Birmingham

by Dejon

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Continuing the Premier League Transfers series, we move up the M1 to the Midlands where Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has made some big money signings as the Blues look to challenge for Europe…

Three players have come in during the transfer window – one who is very well-known, another relatively and a third unknown quantity.

After Joe Hart’s hugely-impressive season on loan at St Andrews last term, Manchester City decided pretty early that they wouldn’t be allowing the 25-year-old to leave for any price or a further loan spell.

That left McLeish looking for a new goalkeeper.

But, step forward Ben Foster…

Another future England prospect was available from City’s neighbours Manchester United and Birmingham agreed an fee (undisclosed, but believed to be rising to £6m) and offer the stopper a three-year deal; which he duly accepted.

Never given a chance to fully establish himself at Old Trafford, Foster will look to take this opportunity with both hands (literally) and show the form that gave him the move to United from Wrexham in the first place.

Next on the list, is the player who not all Premier League followers will be familiar with.

But once they’ve seen him, they won’t forget him!

Nikola Zigic is 6ft 7 1/2 in tall – yes, taller than Peter Crouch – and has scored goals wherever he has been.

With Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade he twice won the double and then his move to La Liga saw him first score 11 times in 32 games for Racing Santander and then the next season, a move South to Valencia for £20m.

He won the Spanish Cup in his first season there, but in all of his time at Los Che, never really settled and was only used regularly in cup competitions.

He secured a loan back to Santander last year and managed 13 goals in 18 games.

Valencia’s debt allowed Birmingham to take advantage and bring the 29-year-old to the Premier League for another fee of around £6m and help them to try and improve on the 9th-placed finish in their first season back in the top-flight.

If Zigic can settle in the Midlands, he can cause problems, obviously due to his aerial threat but also bring team-mates into the game if used in the correct way as a target man, with balls to feet and chest.

The third player is someone who McLeish advises is a “big, tall, lad, left-sided and maybe not the explosion of some wingers, but a very good footballer”.

Tall? Definitely at 6ft 2in.

Midfielder Enric Valles is a product of the Barcelona youth set-up who left as an 18-year-old for first-team football at Dutch Eredivisie side NAC Breda.

He played only five league games, but was given a trial by McLeish and after being offered a contract when his two-year deal at NAC ended, the Spaniard agreed to join.

McLeish says that Valles can control his own destiny…

“Whether he can break in, it’s up to him.

“We have given him the challenge. He was a Bosman, he’s not on Premier League wages, but a wage that gives him incentives to break into the first team.”

So, we could have a dark horse for the fantasy leagues if he can prove he’s worth the punt.

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