Pep Clotet has claimed that the arrival of Jeremie Bela will be a massive boost to Birmingham City both on and off the pitch.
On the Frenchman’s arrival, the manager believes that he has signed more than just a winger given the wealth of tactical options that the versatile player brings.
Blues’ caretaker head coach gave Bela his debut on Saturday against Fulham, just a few days after the attacker arrived at the club.
The 26-year-old came on as a substitute on the left wing before seamlessly switching position to a more central role on the introduction of substitute Jefferson Montero.
The manager told the Birmingham Live that he almost gave up on Bela after failing to tie him down to the club in the summer due to some non-football related issues. Which is why, now, the Spaniard is so happy to see him in the blue and white of Birmingham.
“We wanted to get him in the summer, the player was sorting his situation with the other club, a few things that were not football related that I didn’t get involved with.
“I thought ‘Well, we just need to forget and do something else’, I was very pleased when we were able to invite him to train with us, to assess him and have a good look at his fitness levels, which were very good.
“I checked him during the summer, I saw all his actions from last season, we clipped all his actions from all the games he played, and I watched them one after the other.”
Clotet has explained that his new recruit paves the way for him to set up in either a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation.
“That makes me happy because I think he is a player who can help us, he adds options to us, the fact we are using two forwards to attack and we can turn that into three forwards to attack.
It is always good to see a manager look to go back to sign a player he has previously missed out on. This usually shows that a lot has gone into the thinking behind the signing.
Likewise, it will make the player feel wanted and perhaps will help with Bela’s confidence right from the get-go.
He impressed on his debut too. The 26-year-old – in his first 28 minutes for the club – came on and had the right mindset from the beginning. He was brave in possession and looked to drive at the Fulham defence, already showing fans a glimpse of how quick, powerful and dangerous he can be.