Blues Weekly #1: Return of the Vass, In The Sticks & Blues’ Russian Representative
ISAAC VASSELL: AN ASSET BUT NOT A NATURAL GOALSCORER
Isaac Vassell’s return from injury is certainly a positive for Birmingham City. The 24-year-old possesses electrifying pace and is an exciting player to watch.
Vassell has been sidelined since colliding with Alan Hutton during the second city derby back in October and Blues definitely felt his absence during their fight against relegation.
However, he isn’t the type of striker to score 20 plus goals a season in the Championship and that is an issue for Garry Monk to address this summer. His options in central forward areas – Vassell, Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewicz – are decent but not full of goals.
I would be surprised if the trio bagged 20 goals between them next season.
The problem is, natural goal scorers cost a lot of money and with the uncertainty surrounding Blues’ Financial Fair Play conduct, Garry Monk may have to fully utilise his scouting network to find a gem or use the loan market.
IN THE STICKS
For the record, I like David Stockdale as a goalkeeper. He’s a decent shot stopper and has a good command of his area. But is he really worth upwards of £35,000 per week, his reported salary? His inconsistency suggests not.
You could find a ‘keeper on half of that salary who could produce the same level of performance.
A top quality goalkeeper is worth every penny but Stockdale goes from heroically keeping Blues in a game to very ordinary when he makes an inevitable mistake.
Strong reports suggest that Stockdale, along with Tomasz Kuszczak, have been told they can leave the club this summer. If Monk can find a new keeper who is more ‘budget friendly’, the decision is a no-brainer.
GOOD LUCK CHIEKH
The World Cup is here and as domestic matters take a backseat, one Birmingham City representative will be in the thick of things in Russia.
Chiekh Ndoye and his Senegal teammates will be pitting their wits against Poland, Colombia and Japan in Group H.
The Blues midfielder is a linchpin of the Senegalese midfield. Since his debut in 2014, he’s won 22 caps and has scored twice, including one absolute worldly. YouTube ‘Cheikh Ndoye Senegal’ to watch it.
However, his fortunes in a Blues shirt are different. After a difficult first season at St. Andrews, Blues manager Garry Monk is reportedly looking to offload the 32-year-old this summer with interest from his former club, Angers, sparking rumours of a return to France.
Ndoye can certainly put himself in the shop window in Russia with some dominant performances in the heart of the team.