After a 5-0 win at Luton Town at the weekend, Birmingham City have a spring in their step going into the final week of the summer transfer window.
Nine additions have already been made during the summer, with Tahith Chong looking to be their shrewdest signing so far after seeing the Manchester United loanee light up the second tier already.
Quiz: Have Birmingham City won or lost more against each of these 25 English teams?
The Blues have spent the majority of their recent history battling in a lower midtable position in the Championship and after several flirtations with relegation to League One, they now look in a much better situation under former player Lee Bowyer who arrived in March.
But the next eight days could be vital in elevating them to an even higher position in the league table at the end of the 2021/22 campaign and by the sounds of things, they seem keen to go back into the transfer market shortly to make their final signing(s) of the window.
There is no doubt a couple of difficult decisions will need to be made at St Andrew’s between now and deadline day – and we’re taking at just two dilemmas they will need to weigh up whilst the summer window remains open.
Andre Gray. Take him or leave him?
According to last week’s Football Insider report, Birmingham City are one of the teams interested in a move for Watford striker Andre Gray.
The 30-year-old scored five goals in 30 Championship appearances last season for the Hornets as they managed to secure automatic promotion back to the Premier League – and has a wealth of previous second-tier experience under his belt.
However, he is unlikely to get much game time at Vicarage Road this season with Emmanuel Dennis, Ashley Fletcher and Josh King all arriving in Hertfordshire over the past few months.
This has put a flurry of Championship teams including the Blues, Middlesbrough, QPR, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City on red alert for his services – and Gray could potentially move on before the end of the month.
His 23 goals in the 2015/16 season for Burnley shows what he can do but with numerous teams in the running for his signature, Birmingham could potentially be forced out of the race with their lack of financial power.
And with Lee Bowyer’s side putting five past Luton at the weekend, the 44-year-old’s existing forwards are making the case to start every week with Scott Hogan grabbing a brace at Kenilworth Road.
To loan or not to loan?
The West Midlands side already have five loanees at the club – the maximum number of temporary players you can name in a matchday squad in the Championship as things stand.
Matija Sarkic, Dion Sanderson, Tahith Chong, Juan Castillo and Riley McGree have all arrived at St Andrew’s in recent months, with all five expected to play a big part in the Blues’ 2021/22 campaign.
Sarkic remains the first-choice keeper with Neil Etheridge still working his way back to full fitness, Chong looks set to be one of their most key players throughout the next nine months if he continues in the same vein, Sanderson is also likely to become an important part of Lee Bowyer’s first-team plans when he gets up to speed and Castillo has been a regular part of their squad since joining from Chelsea.
With this, Riley McGree could be the man to drop out if Birmingham make another loan signing, but this might be their only option if they want to get a few more faces in because money seems tight in the West Midlands right now.
Speaking about the possibility of more temporary additions, the manager said to Birmingham Live: “We’ve got five loans already so if we do we’ll maybe bring in one more loan. We’ve just got to weigh up and see what’s what after the weekend.
“We’ve only played four games, there’s another 42 to go. We’re going to get injuries, suspensions, so you need to strengthen the squad. You need numbers.”
Making permanent signings instead may be more beneficial to their long-term planning though, so it will be interesting to see whether he tries to secure another loan deal and risks having to leave one of his existing temporary players out.