Birmingham City are set to go into a new era this summer – one that doesn’t involve controversial CEO Xuandong Ren.
After four years at the Blues, Ren has departed from his role to the delight of many fans, having been an unpopular figure at St Andrew’s and one of the men who reportedly wanted Aitor Karanka to remain in charge just before he was sacked.
Lee Bowyer has steadied the ship at the club and whilst a new CEO will be needed to conduct matters off the field, new players will be needed to strengthen Bowyer’s squad as they seek a top half place in the Championship next season for the first time since 2016.
Bowyer has used a number of systems since coming in as manager but his most used has been the 3-5-2 – the Blues going unbeaten in five games when that formation has been implemented.
That could be the system going forward although it wouldn’t suit the out-and-out wingers like Jeremie Bela and Ivan Sanchez, Bowyer clearly has tactical nous as he’s switched to 4-4-2 on occasions.
One area of the pitch that needs addressing is the midfield options, which as of now includes Ivan Sunjic, Gary Gardner, Mikel San Jose and the unfancied Adam Clayton.
Bowyer could do with adding one or maybe two players in the engine room and one that should definitely be on the radar is Luton Town’s Pelly Ruddock.
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Some will say that the Hatters have overachieved with the budget they have to finish 12th in the Championship this season, and Ruddock has been with them every step of the way since they were in the National League.
The 27-year-old has developed year on year and he’s missed just four Championship games in the last two seasons, proving how important he is to the club.
Ruddock won’t bring you many goals but he is a real battler in the midfield and he can also operate in a box-to-box role – that’s the kind of energy that Bowyer is missing from his midfield right now.
Clubs who finished higher in the league than Birmingham, such as Norwich and Swansea, were linked with Ruddock in January but nothing came to fruition, however with his contract expiring this summer and no sign of him penning a new one right now, Ruddock looks open to offers.
This is where Birmingham can jump in and make things happen – even though the league table says that Luton were by far the superior team this season, from a historical standpoint Birmingham are a bigger club and they should feel like they can offer players like Ruddock enough to convince them to join the Blues.