In: David Davis (Wolverhampton Wanderers, Undisclosed), Denny Johnstone (Celtic, Compensation), Luke Armstrong (Middlesbrough, Free), David Edgar (Burnley), Stephen Gleeson (MK Dons), Jonathan Grounds (Oldham Athletic), Gavin Gunning (Dundee United), Wes Thomas (Rotherham United), David Cotterill (Doncaster Rovers), Clayton Donaldson (Brentford), Mark Duffy (Rotherham United), Navid Nasseri (Bury), Grant Hall (Tottenham Hotspur, Loan).
Out: Tom Adeyemi (Cardiff City, £1m), Aaron Martin (Yeovil Town), Hayden Mullins (Notts County), Wade Elliott (Bristol City), Liam Maher (Leamington), Chris Burke (Nottingham Forest), Amari’i Bell (Mansfield Town, Loan), Koby Arthur (Cheltenham Town, Loan), Reece Brown (Notts County, Loan).
Released: Peter Lovenkrands, Darren Ambrose, Brian Howard, Akwasi Asante, Reece Hales, Ryan Higgins.
After flirting briefly with relegation, Birmingham stayed safe to survive another season in the English second tier. The signing of Emyr Huws and Jordon Ibe aided the Blues in their survival. Key players included Lee Novak, Paul Robinson, Federico Macheda, Paul Caddis and Chris Burke.
Lee Clark’s men had a few who were out of contract in the summer, with the likes of Wade Elliot returning to Bristol City, Chris Burke moving on to Nottingham Forest and Aaron Martin moving to relegated Yeovil.
Youngsters loaned out include the highly rated Amari’i Bell, Koby Arthur and Reece Brown, formerly of Manchester United.
I picked out a few key ins & outs (…players I have significant data for..)
Though Adeyemi only scored 1 goal and provided 1 assist last term, 32 starts at the age of 22 is to be admired as he was a part of the 5 man midfield that Clark often put out. From his statistics, he looks like a bog standard central midfielder – get ball, give ball, go. Average pass length of 20m perhaps indicated how Birmingham played last term. His passes per game were actually similar to that of Macheda, and the amount of passes he made was similar to the average of a Championship CM.
So why the £1m move to Cardiff? Seems like Cardiff seem to think that his age mean he’s a raw talent, and the distance he covers is useful. I’ve not seen him play, so have no objective view – the point here is that Birmingham must have seen this a good move, or the player himself felt the move was right for him.
Elliot is an aging attacking midfielder, at 35-36 years old – and moving back to his previous club will be a good move for both parties. Bristol regain a cult hero, and Birmingham only lose a player who played 15 appearances, clocking just 1 assist. The 2nd highest pass accuracy (behind Jesse Lingard, a loanee) A good move for all parties concerned, with Bristol City gaining a player who has the experience as they launch a second assault to return to the Championship.
Edgar fell behind in the pecking order at Burnley, and the defender is a solid signing for Birmingham. Playing primarily in the middle of midfield for Burnley when he did play, the 27 year old chose the time to leave for Birmingham on a free. The player is versatile, playing in midfield and defence in the past.
Brentford lost a good striker in Donaldson, even though they got promoted. Donaldson was ranked the 10th highest striker in one of my earlier posts, examining the top 25 strikers in League 1. Aged 30, he scored 17 goals and 5 assists in League 1 and playing the whole regular season, only being subbed off twice. After losing Macheda back to Manchester United and subsequently to Cardiff, Donaldson could be the answer to the goalscorer that the club are looking for.
Doncaster returned to the Championship for just one season, and 26 year old Cotterill went down with them. 4 goals and 3 assists, with 2.37 Key Passes per 90. He’s an accurate passer, with over 84% accuracy – and he can play both on the left and the right hand side of midfield. After losing a cracking player in Chris Burke, David Cotterill could prove an excellent and versatile replacement for the Notts Forest man.