The 2021/22 season is a huge one for the long-term direction of Birmingham City and with Lee Bowyer in charge the hope is they have at last found some stability.
However, last summer when Birmingham appointed Aitor Karanka, a previous promotion winner with Middlesbrough, it equally seemed as though they were finally heading in the right direction after a couple of difficult seasons and various managerial changes.
The summer window that Birmingham put together for Karanka was not a successful one. Gambles were taken that older players like Mikel San Jose, Adam Clayton and George Friend could come in and make a difference.
While it was also hoped that players such as Ivan Sanchez, Jonathan Leko and Scott Hogan could add extra attacking flare.
In the end, most of those additions did not work out for the Blues and they were left once again partway through a campaign needing to change course with the appointment of Bowyer.
Karanka’s demise at Birmingham last season highlight just how important it is to get your business spot-on in the transfer market to achieve the progression that the Blues are crying out for.
So, heading into this summer the Blues are already starting to be linked with one or two potential signings. One area that Bowyer is keen to strengthen is in defence after the departure of Jake Clarke-Salter.
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Reports have now emerged that Birmingham are one of the teams that have joined the race to sign Wolves defender Dion Sanderson. The 21-year-old is set to be allowed to leave the Premier League club this summer, despite having enjoyed a promising campaign on loan with Sunderland.
The defender managed 26 League One appearances for the Black Cats and helped them record eight clean sheets, winning 4.3 duels per game and also averaging 2.7 clearances per 90 minutes.
It is believed that Sunderland are keen to secure him permanently and that Wolves are valuing him at around £2 million, with the likes of Huddersfield Town and Stoke City also keen.
Sanderson would be exactly the right profile of player for the Blues to sign and kick start a new progressive era at St Andrews under Bowyer. This is a player with a very bright future ahead of him and who should only continue to grow over the next few years as he matures as a centre-back.
You could imagine him thriving in the Championship for the right sort of side and under a manager like Bowyer. As a result, he would have the potential to up his value considerably in the coming seasons.
Contrast that to another player that Birmingham are now reportedly in the race for. That is defender Mathias Jorgensen who is currently on the books of Turkish side Fenerbahce.
Although he has been deemed surplus to requirements the last few years and was shipped out on loan to Copenhagen last term.
The 31-year-old has already had a spell in English football with Huddersfield Town, where he was a strong enough performer in the 2017/18 campaign in the top-flight making 38 appearances.
However, he struggled in his final season with them and made just 24 appearances as they were relegated.
The defender is going to be part of the Denmark squad for the Euros this summer, and whilst that international pedigree is impressive, it does not mean he would be the right man for Birmingham.
Jorgensen is a player entering the latter part of his career, his best days might well be behind him and Fenerbahce, his current club, have not been convinced by his abilities.
The choice is simple then for the Blues. They could repeat the same unsuccessful gambles from last summer that they did with the likes of San Jose and hope that the 31-year-old will be able to perform well in the Championship.
However, they could also make the progressive and more exciting choice of bringing in a player like Sanderson, who is still maturing and will only grow further in the coming years.
It is unlikely that Bowyer will bring both players into the club. So, whichever one, if any, does arrive will say a lot about the direction that the Blues are heading in.