This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Birmingham City have joined the race for Watford striker Andre Gray, as per a report from Football Insider.
The reports names The Blues, as well as Middlesbrough and QPR, as the three latest clubs to join the chase for the in-demand forward.
The Championship trio join West Brom and Swansea City in pursuit, as previously reported by Football Insider, whilst Blackburn Rovers were offered the chance to sign the lightning-quick forward, in a deal that would have seen Adam Armstrong go the other way, according to The Sun.
Gray netted five times in 30 Championship appearances last time out, starting just 14 of those games. However, Gray still possesses a strong record in the Championship, scoring 46 times in 118 second-tier outings.
As a result of his lack of playing time last year, coupled with the fact that Watford are back in the higher division, has put the forward’s future in doubt.
With Birmingham now keen on Andre Gray, we asked three of the writers at FLW to share their view on the potential move…
Andre Gray would be a real statement of intent and an exciting addition to Lee Bowyer’s Birmingham City.
They have a well stocked attacking contingent with the likes of Jonathan Leko and Chuks Aneke typically playing second fiddle to the duo of Lukas Jutkiewicz and Scott Hogan, but with Sam Cosgrove getting a move away last week, there is a spot for Gray.
The Watford man would provide some encouraging Premier League pedigree to an otherwise very run of the mill Championship squad.
Bowyer seems to have been given more control over transfers than previous managers at the club, just rewards for what has been an excellent initial period at Saint Andrews.
Gray’s wage demands could also be significant and in that proving that the Blues mean business this year, not too concerned on cost cutting amidst the pandemic.
The ex-Charlton Athletic boss will want to rid the supporters of any relegation anxieties as his first objective, but the addition of Gray would suggest there are aspirations to push for at least a top half finish this season.
I think it could be an excellent signing for the Blues if they could pull it off.
The Blues, I personally feel, have had a good window already and you can see that Lee Bowyer is putting together a really decent team – certainly one that is going to have higher aspirations than just surviving another relegation scrap this season.
Indeed, I think he knows exactly what he wants from his Birmingham side and you have to feel if he could get a player like Gray in and get him performing then it would make them an even bigger threat than they already are.
Of course, it would be a big step to say signing Gray makes them genuine top six contenders but it certainly helps them down the road to becoming that and I think that’s what will excite Blues fans.
This doesn’t really seem to be one worth pursuing for Birmingham City in all honesty.
Admittedly, the Blues have struggled to take chances so far this season, with just one goal – from defender Maxime Colin – in their three league games so far, so you could understand their potential interest in a striker.
However, given Gray scored just five times in 30 league games for a Watford side that on the whole, claimed promotion from the Championship quite comfortably last season, you do question whether the 30-year-old would be capable of making the required impact if he was to move to St Andrew’s.
Add to that the fact that it seems Gray is unlikely to be a cheap signing, be that in terms of a transfer fee or wages, and you feel as though this would be something of a financial risk for Birmingham as well.
With all that in mind, it feels to me as though the Blues should be looking at alternative attacking targets in the final few weeks of the transfer window.