Birmingham City are somewhat going into the unknown this summer, with takeover rumours overshadowing everything else that could occur in the coming weeks.
The Blues had another disappointing season in the Championship in 2021-22, spending most of the second half of the season in the bottom quarter of the league before finishing in 20th position, having won just one of their last 10 matches.
They have struggled for some time now in the second tier, with things looking like they’re getting worse before they improve, and some believe a change in the boardroom is needed.
Birmingham’s Chinese ownership group has never been the most popular at St. Andrew’s, which is why the talk of a takeover in the last month has been exciting – for now though nothing has materialised.
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If the same ownership structure remains for the upcoming campaign then it’s unlikely Lee Bowyer will get much in the way of transfer funds to spend, which may mean he has to promote some of the young players into his first-team squad, especially with the likes of Kristian Pedersen and Jeremie Bela set to depart.
Nico Gordon appeared 11 times in the Championship, whilst Jobe Bellingham and George Hall were individuals who made brief breakthroughs into Bowyer’s squad, with two league outings a-piece.
Both have been linked with moves away from St. Andrew’s this summer, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Newcastle United all looking at Bellingham, the younger brother of Borussia Dortmund’s Jude.
It is Hall though who could be the more imminent departure from the club – that is despite BirminghamLive reporting a ‘not for sale’ stance, amid interest from Newcastle and Leeds United.
The 17-year-old made his senior debut for Birmingham back in January, playing 85 minutes of their league defeat to Queens Park Rangers alongside Troy Deeney, and then also featured for half an hour in the final match of the campaign against Blackburn Rovers.
Hall stepped up to the club’s under-23’s side competently as well, with the attacking midfielder netting three times in 11 matches, and that has seen both the Whites and the Magpies signal their interest in summer swoops.
It is Leeds who were reported by The Athletic to be considering a seven-figure transfer swoop for the teenager in the coming weeks, which would be the same move as Birmingham youngster Amari Miller made last summer if it happens.
However, with funds set to be tight at the club this summer in the case of no takeover happening, Birmingham definitely need to stick to their guns and keep Hall around and not do a u-turn once a bid inevitably arrives.
Whilst not featuring much yet for the first-team, Hall is clearly showing something to Bowyer for his rare inclusions last season, and potentially in the number 10 role, the team could be built around him in the next couple of years.
Hall may not end up being a Jude Bellingham, but Premier League clubs are seeing something about him, which means that Birmingham should stand firm on their stance and then give him more of an opportunity in 2022-23.