Riley McGree has had a very peculiar career path leading to him joining Birmingham City on an extended loan deal at the back end of 2020.
The Australian central midfielder came through the youth setup at Adelaide United before earning a move to Europe with Club Brugge.
He then returned to his boyhood in the summer of 2019 before getting snapped by Charlotte FC in October 2020, an MLS franchise who are yet to play in USA’s top tier.
McGree’s loan move to Birmingham City expires at the end of the year with the 23-year-old set to return to Charlotte FC who have not yet assembled a squad for the 2022 MLS season.
With his experience in English football and lack of game time in a league just as competitive, Birmingham City should be able to make an attractive offer to the versatile midfielder.
McGree has impressed in the first portion of the season under Lee Bowyer, chipping in with two goals in six league starts as the Blues look to stay away from the relegation picture. At 23, getting his feet under the table in the English second tier could be more appealing than the uncertainty of Charlotte FC with the potential aim of playing in next year’s World Cup with Australia.
Bowyer is not blessed with a plethora of options in midfield areas with McGree being one of just four senior central midfielders at the club. Through their transfer business in recent years including some high profile departures from the club, the Blues should have the finances to put an offer on the table for McGree’s services on a longer term basis.
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The 2022 MLS season does not begin until the end of February so even if a permanent acquisition could not be negotiated, keeping McGree at St Andrew’s until the conclusion of the 2021/22 Championship campaign could be another option to explore.
The Blues will have to dip into the transfer market to bolster midfield areas in January as they are a couple of badly timed injuries away from being forced to use U23 players in the centre of the park. If McGree’s services are attainable on a longer term basis, Birmingham should jump at the chance.