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Despite bolstering his squad considerably in the summer by signing a plethora of players, Birmingham City head coach Pep Clotet decided to swoop yesterday for Jeremie Bela.
Following a lengthy contract dispute with Albacete, the winger was released by the Spanish club earlier this week which allowed him to join the Blues on a free transfer.
As confirmed by the club’s website, Bela is set to stay at St Andrew’s until 2022 having signed a three-year deal with Birmingham.
Free to play for the Blues after being given international clearance today, it will be intriguing to see whether the 26-year-old will feature in the club’s clash with Fulham on Saturday.
An extremely talented individual, Bela was a standout performer for Albacete last season as he scored 12 goals and provided two assists in all competitions.
If he can hit the ground running in the Championship over the coming months, he may be able to help Birmingham launch a sustained push for a top-six finish this season.
Whilst the club’s supporters will understandably be excited by Bela’s arrival, Jacques Maghoma may not be too pleased with the Blues’ latest transfer agreement.
Will Birmingham City challenge for a top-six finish this season?
Since joining Birmingham in 2015 following a two-year stint at Sheffield Wednesday, the winger has enjoyed a relatively fruitful spell at the club.
A mainstay in the Blues’ starting eleven for three of the last four seasons, Maghoma would have been wanting to make a real impression on Clotet during the current campaign following Garry Monk’s shock departure in June.
However, this unfortunately hasn’t been the case for the 32-year-old as he has fallen below the likes of Dan Crowley and Fran Villalba in the pecking order at St Andrew’s.
With the Blues opting to add to their wide options by signing Bela, Maghoma now faces the risk of being cut adrift by Clotet.
Limited to just two starts this year, it is imperative that the former Owls man illustrates to his boss in training why he deserves another a chance to impress in the Championship.
If he cannot force his way into Clotet’s plans for the immediate future, Maghoma may find it beneficial to leave Birmingham on a permanent basis in the January transfer window.
By joining a club who will be willing to play him week-in, week-out, the winger could end up reviving a career which has stagnated in recent months.