This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Birmingham City were involved in late transfer deadline day business – but it was an outgoing and not a signing as Jonathan Leko headed back to Charlton Athletic on loan for the 2021-22 season.
The 22-year-old was snapped up by the Blues last summer from West Bromwich Albion, but he went through 35 league matches last season without scoring for the Midlands side.
And with Troy Deeney’s arrival at St. Andrew’s this week, Leko was pushed down the pecking order but he’s managed to secure himself a return to the Addicks, who he played for during the 2019-20 season on loan.
Is it the right call to allow Leko to depart Birmingham though? We asked the FLW team for their thoughts…
I think this is definitely the right call from Birmingham City as for me Leko isn’t of a good enough standard to be playing in the Championship.
He’s very hit and miss and I think this loan spell could help him to find some much needed consistency.
The signing of Troy Deeney would’ve seen him fall even further down the pecking order, so it was for the best that he got out.
Charlton are a club that Lee Bowyer knows well, so he will have been assured that Leko will get the right game time at the Valley.
Overall it’s a pretty logical decision from the Blues.
20 quiz questions about Birmingham City’s 2021/22 season so far – Can you score full marks?
I think it probably is.
He’s been a little bit in and out of the side so far for the Blues this season and I think Lee Bowyer is probably of the opinion that the winger needs more senior football and regular game-time elsewhere before he is ready to come in and play week in, week out at St Andrew’s.
Bowyer likes Leko I think and they enjoyed a decent patch when they were both at Charlton before he got an injury, so it’s probably in the now Birmingham manager’s mind that a move back to The Valley could help him rediscover that spark and get some important minutes under his belt.
Leko is perhaps just a little bit too raw still at the moment for Championship football, but a big campaign in League One could be exactly what he needs.
Leko needs a fresh start and going to Charlton Athletic appears a solid solution for all parties involved.
He’s struggled to cement a consistent starting berth under Lee Bowyer at Birmingham City and it’s evident he’s falling down the pecking order currently at St Andrew’s, so a move away was always a decision I felt the Blues had to make.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that Leko is only 22 still, so has plenty of time to develop, mature and progress in his playing career and going to a place like the Valley which he arguably played some of his best football is a good call.