Championship club Birmingham City have notified left-back Mitchell Roberts that he can leave St Andrew’s for free this month, according to Football Insider.
The 21-year-old has made just one league appearance so far this season, filling in at centre-back in the midst of an injury crisis at the start of November as they faced Reading, although a brace from teenager Jahmari Clarke denied the defender a clean sheet.
He also played in the 2-0 defeat to Fulham in the Carabao Cup earlier on in the season, but has only appeared in three of Lee Bowyer’s Championship matchday squads so far this term and has now seemingly been deemed surplus to requirements in the West Midlands.
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Football Insider have also reported that an unnamed EFL club are interested in signing him, but have already fulfilled their loan quota and would be unable to make a loan move happen.
Birmingham could make his arrival at this side slightly easier though as they consider releasing him from his contract for free, with Football League World recently revealing that the Blues are looking to reduce their wage bill.
His current contract at the Championship side is set to expire at the end of the 2021/22 campaign – and this latest report has signalled his decade-long stay with the club is coming to an end after rarely featuring for the first team.
He went out on loan to Harrogate Town during the second half of last term, although it seems as though they aren’t the interested club having only brought in one loanee in Sunderland’s Jack Diamond during the previous transfer window.
Covid-19 has had a big impact on finances not just in the third and fourth tiers of English football but also in the Championship, so it makes sense for Birmingham to cash in on those that may not be providing value for money at this stage.
Roberts wasn’t likely to be on a huge wage, but he wasn’t exactly a first-team regular and at 21, he needs to be playing every week for a senior side if he wants to progress and fulfil his potential, something he seemingly wouldn’t have been able to do under Bowyer with limited opportunities.
However, Covid has also caused a problem in the fact they may have required him later on in the season to fill in either as a wing-back or in central defence with cases continuing to hamper clubs up and down the English football pyramid.
He doesn’t seem to have a future at St Andrew’s though, so now is the time for them to let go as they continue to cut costs, not just to keep the club running sustainably but also to try and comply with the EFL’s financial rules.
An inability to do so will result in another points deduction for them, something they will be keen to avoid after seeing the likes of Derby County and Reading struggle with their sanctions this season.