22 May 2006

Birmingham Summer Clearance Begins

Now that the season's over, talk naturally turns to the transfer market as teams try to reload for next year. Clearly Birmingham City is the most talent-rich of the relegated sides. A quick look at their roster reveals a dozen names that won't be around next season for the Blues. Indeed, Steve Bruce has already confirmed the release of 8 players.

Definitely Gone

Jermaine PennantThe former Arsenal man was a consistent top performer for the Blues this season and several clubs are interested in obtaining the youngster. Liverpool, Tottenham and Fulham have all shown interest.
Jiri JarosikI'd look for the Blues top scorer and Czech national to head back east. Zenit St. Petersburg were interested back in January. His former club CSKA Moskow is also a possibility.
Emile HeskeyI thought Heskey was simply awful for Birmingham. But he's English and experienced, so another EPL side will likely nab him. Portsmouth and Blackburn are rumored to be interested.
David DunnHe was a big contributor at former club Blackburn and Rovers will certainly be looking to bolster their midfield for next season's European campaign.
Mario MelchiotThe dutchman still has a few good years of top flight football left. Manchester City are rumored to be interested. A return to Ajax might be a possibility also.
Nicky ButtButt was on loan from Newcastle and would be only too eager to return. He is certain to have a difficult time breaking in to the starting lineup however.
Chris SuttonThe veteran striker couldn't save the Blues from relegation after being purchased in January and has already been released. Even though his old club don't want him, I'm sure there are many Colaship sides who would jump at the chance to have a player of his caliber.
Walter PandianiAt 32, it's doubtful that any big European clubs will be interested in the former Deportiva la Coruña striker who never broke through at Birmingham. I'd look for a move back to South America for the Uruguayan.
Jamie ClaphamLooks like former club Ipswich Town are interested in signing the English defender. He probably doesn't have many other options.
Kenny CunninghamIt just might be a career for the 34-year-old former captain. If so, it's a cruel ending.
Stan LazaridisA return down under is in order for the 33-year-old Aussie.
Nico VaesenAlthough 36 isn't that old for a keeper, the EPL options for this Belgian are limited. It's either off to a lower league side or back home for Nico.

Probably Gone
Julian GrayI'd expect Steve Bruce to fight hard to retain this promising young striker to help next season's promotion campaign, but another EPL side might swoop.
Maik TaylorHe had a bit of an inconsistent season, but would make a valuable back-up for another EPL side.
Olivier TebilyThe French defender impressed in the final few weeks of the season and also apparantly had a falling out with Steve Bruce. I'd expect him to be a substitute for another EPL side next season.
Mikael ForssellHe was a revelation last season, but saw his goal production slow to a trickle. Still, last season's performance is probably enough for an EPL side to try to sign the former Chelsea man at a bargain price.

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