Pre-season is fast approaching and Blues boss Gary Rowett will be looking to strengthen his defensive line and start developing a partnership with captain Michael Morrison, sooner rather than later.
The realistic option for the meantime would be the free transfer market. With news of £10million expected to be available for players and wages by the January transfer window, we take a look at three experienced defenders that Blues could target in the coming months, for the short term.
Another player that has been released by their club, this time Bolton. Wheater made more than 100 appearances for the club in five years. Bolton fans regard him as being a ‘Premier League defender, when fit’. An online pole revealed 46% of 5,000 voters said Wheater was the player they were most sorry to lose this summer. Again, not the paciest defender, but certainly one for Gary Rowett and his staff to keep tabs on.
Next up is Anton Ferdinand. The former West Ham center back made just 21 appearances under Nigel Adkins, Steve Clarke and Brian McDermott at Reading, before being released this term.
Injuries blighted his Berkshire days, but he is still a very experienced and well-known player that could well be a good signing for a club such as Blues. Overlooked by the Paul McShane and Nick Blackman, Ferdinand found it hard to regain his place in the starting lineup for the Royals, despite excellent displays at the back – a notable one against Swansea City.
Rio’s brother then created a partnership with McShane and Reading fans believed it was the best one they have had at the back since the Alex Pearce and Kaspar Gorkes days back in 2010/11.
Sure, the 31-year-old isn’t known for his mobility or pace, but his experience makes up for that. Mistakes were at a minimum when the former Sunderland man was on the pitch and I think a partnership with Morro would suit him and Rowett’s squad before he hangs his boots up.
Not just that, Ferdinand would also be a very good figure to have in the dressing room. What is for sure, Gary Rowett is calling out for more leaders, especially at the back. Paul Robinson made an unexpected mark last season, scoring a few important goals. However, next season could take it’s tole on the 37-year-old and without replacing the experience of Robbo out of the back line, this target would be the best in that aspect.
QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink announced a shock departure list last week. One player on their was veteran Clint Hill, who was regarded as the Hoops’ most rated defender and one that very rarely performed badly during his time at Loftus Road.
The 37-year-old will always have a place in Rangers’ folklore, captaining them to play-off glory two years ago. Hill won’t be short of offers this summer, however Blues fans will want to see a young and developing player rather than one ready to go into management. The former Crystal Palace man already has the necessary qualifications to manage in the Championship. This target would be a temporary one, until the new owner has full control of Blues.
The 6 foot defender played 169 games for QPR, scoring 5 goals. A dominant figure that Blues could benefit from in the short term, for at least one season.
What do you think, would any of the above freebies be useful for Blues or are they past their ‘playing days’?