Welcome to the very first, bumper edition of Weekly Blues, and what a lot there is to digest! We’re talking record-breaking offers, new appointments, competitive fixture announcements and a certain ex-England Captain. Let’s get started, shall we?
John Terry to Blues?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you will know that Blues have been linked with the five-time Premier League winning Centre-half, John Terry. It’s safe to say, the speculation has caused quite a stir in both halves of the City.
With an offer on the table from Bournemouth, for a reported £100k a week, it’s quite hard to imagine just how on earth Blues would be able to get in on the act and tempt the Chelsea legend to St Andrews, when his contract expires at the end of the month. Nonetheless, several bookmakers have suspended odds on him joining up with Harry in B9.
It is well known that Redknapp and Terry are good friends and the former England captain is keen to take up coaching and eventually move into management. Who else better to learn from, than the last English coach to lift an English trophy?
So, without going into too much analysis, as this is a round-up, I will say this: for what is potentially only a £5.2m commitment, for player of Terry’s calibre and on-field characteristics, is a sound one. Comparatively, Derby County (and a certain ex-Blues manager) have just signed Andre Wisdom for £4.2 million + wages. I know which I would rather in Royal Blue.
Ultimately, the only people who truely know where Terry will be lacing up his boots next year, are him and his representatives. Thats not to say we can’t enjoy a little more of the media spotlight and the great exposure the club is currently getting.
Out of the 3 linked names this week, Lois Diony is one that may have potentially been overshadowed a little. In all fairness, he has been up against a potential club record signing and a former England captain! But, doesn’t mean he is any less deserving of some ‘column inches’.
The Martiniquais-born striker achieved an impressive 11 goals and 7 assists in 35 Ligue 1 fixtures (2016/17). He was arguably the main factor in Dijon finishing in 16th place and avoiding the drop. The 24-year-old has blossomed and improved at every level he has stepped up to, achieving 11 goals and 4 assists in Ligue 2 the previous year.j
Standing 6ft tall and very quick, Diony would seem a direct replacement for Clayton Donaldson, who this year turns 34. There has been, and currently still is, heavy interest from a host of Ligue 1 clubs after his impressive league performances. So it remains to be seen if Lois would be tempted to swap Bourgogne for Brum.
Blues have reportedly joined Premier League sides Arsenal, West Ham and Everton on the list of potential suitors for the 20-year-old Nigerian and it’s not hard to see why he is attracting top level interest.
In just 28 games in Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League he has struck 12 goals and 7 assists from left wing. He also went on to score 10 goals in 10 games in the play off stages of the league, add that to his two goals in the Belgian Cup, saw Onykuru’s season total swell to 24 goals in 41 games.
According to reports, he will only move for guarenteed first team football, Which he would genuinely get at Blues. There are a host of clubs across europe, not just England, who could also offer him serious playing time at a higher level, but interestingly he has already turned down moves to top Belgian sides Brugge and Anderlecht – suggesting that playing time really is his motivation.
It is believed that a fee between £7.5m – £9m would be enough to prize him away from KAS Eupen, who finished 13th in the Belgian top league last year. If the reported fee is correct, it would eclipse the record £6.25m paid for Nikola Zigic back in May 2010. Blues were desperately short of goals last year and Redknapp is clearly looking to address the issue by attempting to break the Blues transfer record to land his man.
Last, and by no uncertain means least, comes David Stockdale. A transfer, which came completely out of the blue and what a fantastic surprise it was. Stockdale was voted in into the EFL Team of the Year and Players Team of the Year for his efforts at the Amex last year. He is accredited with playing a pivotal role in their promotion, shown by being nominated for Brighton’s own Player of the Year.
A good barometer to judge a player by is the social media reaction of their previous club and there has been a real outcry from Brighton fans on the whole who are gutted to lose Stockdale to Blues.
It seems that Harry has not only secured a top Goalkeeper, who has previously been called up to England for his efforts, but also a stellar role model who contributed just as much off the pitch, as on it. A smart, ambitious signing that hopefully becomes a hallmark of this transfer period.
It has been reported that Harry Redknapp has told the Welsh winger his services are no longer required and can leave St. Andrews. It is rumoured that former boss Gary Rowett and longtime on-air admirer Ian Holloway have been mentioned as interested parties for picking up the former Doncaster Rovers winger. It looks highly unlikely that the 29-year-old will be a part of Harry’s revolution.
The Scotsman has been attracting a lot of interest north of the border after a lacklustre start to his career in English football. My thoughts on this are mixed, as when he has had game time he simply hasn’t shown enough quality to warrant more game time. That said, he also hasn’t had enough time in the first XI to get find any form or consistency. Especially as Zola played him in a much deeper central role. Hopefully, he is given a little time to try and rediscover the form that saw him earn his £500k deal to come to Blues in the first place.
Not for the first time, Harry Redknapp and Kevin Bond are set to work together. Redknapp this week has announced that Bond would be joining him for an astonishing seventh time.
The pair have worked together most recently at the Jordanian national side, previously to that at QPR in 2012, and going back further the pair worked at Portsmouth, Southampton and Tottenham. Bond has also experienced life in the managerial hot seat too. He suffered a cruel relegation, via a 10pt deduction at Bournemouth for the club falling into administration, after seemingly guiding them to safety.
Interestingly, Bond does have links to Blues (and rather unfortunately to Villa too) with his father John Bond managing the boys in royal blue from January 1986 to May 1987. Bond also spent a short time across the expressway as an Assistant to Roberto Di Matteo. The less said about that, the better.
Blues have drawn a home tie, against League 2 opposition Crawley Town. It will be Blues’ first game in the newly branded ‘Carabao Cup’ previously known as the ‘Capital One’ Cup.
The exact date of the fixture is yet to be announced, but tradition would suggest it will take place few days after Blues’ first league fixture (which should fall w/c 7th August). Hopefully, this year Blues will fare slightly better and get past the first round. Last year suffering defeat at the hands of Oxford United.