Jeremie Bela completed his move to Birmingham City after his contract was terminated at Spanish side Albacete.
The 26-year-old has received international clearance before he makes his debut, but having trained with the Blues of late – his first appearance is eagerly anticipated.
Having been in a dispute with Albacete, Bela agreed to void his contract extension with the Spanish club, and he has now become the ninth signing made by caretaker Birmingham boss Pep Clotet.
He follows the likes of Ivan Sunjic, Jake Clarke-Salter, Moha Ramos, Dan Crowley, Alvaro Gimenez, Fran Villalba, Jefferson Montero and Josh McEachran into St Andrew’s.
Birmingham currently sit 12th in Championship having lost their last league game to Cardiff City 4-2.
Clotet’s forward line have been struggling for goals this term, seeing Lukas Jutkiewicz score four goals – the most of any player in the squad.
The Blues have had no less than 100 shots on goal in their last six games, so chances are being created but Clotet will now be hoping his new signing can finish off those chances.
As a two with Jutkiewicz
The 26-year-old French attacker is comfortable playing anywhere along the front line, but in Clotet’s current formation – featuring as a two alongside Jutkiewicz could cause a problem.
Bela has always been keen to explore the wide areas rather than a central role and if he was to do that as a front two – Jutkiewicz may be left to do the role alone.
That problem could be overcome with a diamond midfield, allowing one of the players to push forward but then the wider players such as Fran Villalba would have to play more defensive, which is not in their nature.
Changing to a front free
Clotet may opt to revert to a typically Spanish style 4-3-3 and remove Kerim Mrabti or Dan Crowley from the starting eleven.
That would allow Villalba to potentially move into a front three with Bela playing the other side Jutkiewicz.
Changing to this would be a big gamble at present, given the amount of chances the Midlands side are making. Does Clotet want to sacrifice those chances to give more players the chance to score, what if they miss?
Rotation with Jutkiewicz
Clotet could be of the thinking that a new striker is what his side need. It is arguably correct of him to think that – given his leading scorer has four goals, despite the previously mentioned amount of chances Birmingham create.
Starting Bela in a free role could see more and different chances created. Angles could change, space could open up – especially with the former Albacete man’s movement.
One thing is for sure, Bela is bringing with him talent and a selection headache for Clotet.