Our rather un-inspiring run of pre-season games was rounded off with a 2-0 defeat at home to Swansea on Saturday. Whilst pre-season is no indication of how our actual season will go, given that Harry still intends to bring in another six players, it has definitely identified our weaknesses up front.
Adams still appears to be our brightest spark in the final third, but he too fell victim to two missed chances despite putting in a decent enough shift, and when Juke hobbled off injured, later on, you start to see just how poor our options are.
Whilst Hugill looked set to be the main transfer priority of the window, attention now seems to have switched to a new striker. According to the Daily Star Birmingham are preparing a bid for Hull striker Abel Hernandez. The 6,1 foot forward could offer a lot to Blues’ promotion bid, but he wouldn’t come cheap. He was made Hull’s record signing three years ago as he joined from Palermo for £10 million. It is also understood that Hull’s new Russian manager Leonid Slutsky is keen to keep the frontman, but Redknapp is supposedly willing to use his transfer budget to tempt the Uruguayan forward to B9. There are rumors the player’s buyout clause is £10 million. Given that Hull have already enquired of the services of Ryan Shotton earlier in the window, it has been speculated that Blues could offer the center half as well as a fee for the striker.
I’m a massive fan of Abel and have been for some time. I first saw him play two seasons ago when I traveled to the KC stadium to watch Blues slip to a deserved 2-0 defeat following a class display by Hull City who were later promoted that season. I can clearly remember Hernandez standing out that day just as the pre-match analysts had warned us, he was unbelievably graceful and was too much for Morrison or Robinson to handle all day. After a Hull break away in the 38th minute, the Hull City left back Robertson made a stunning run from his own half, bullying off Caddis and Maghoma before delivering a sweet low cross in to the pathway of Hernandez. It was not, however, an easy finish for Abel, who had to touch the ball up with both Robinson and Gleeson at his back before spinning 180 degrees and volleying the ball beyond the reach of Kuszczak and in to the bottom left-hand corner. It wasn’t just the goal either, he was just a handful all afternoon. Throughout his troubled Premier League spell I’d been hoping that Rowett or Zola would bring him in, even if it was only on a loan.
On soccer-wiki, the talisman is described to have strength, pace, and flair in abundance. Furthermore, fans hail his work rate and concentration as well as his natural poacher instincts, like his fantastic movement in the box as well as his skill for dribbling and finishing. He’s also renowned for being superb in the air. He’s had two spells in the Premier league, neither of which have been as fruitful as his championship campaign, where he was named Hull’s player of the season and player’s player of the season.
The forward’s career began at Central Española, he spent two seasons there, scoring 9 in 30, being nicknamed La Joya by the fans after scoring five goals in his first four games. He then went to Penarol for a single season, scoring 3 goals in eight appearances and earning himself a call up to the Uruguayan U20 side. After moving to Palermo to join up with fellow countryman Edison Cavani, his first season was somewhat hindered by injury and Palermo were relegated. He played a far greater role in getting them promoted once more and he played 111 times for the Italian side over the course of six seasons, scoring 31 goals.
He made his big money move to Hull on the first of September 2014, signing a three-year contract with a one years option. His career with Hull got off to a solid start but went on to score just four goals in 26 appearances. When they were relegated and he was given a three-match ban after he punched Phil Jones on the final day of the season. He did come in to his element in the Championship, however, cleaning up at Hull’s end of season awards, after scoring 20 goals in 39 league games, scoring his first professional hat-trick against Charlton and earning January’s player of the month award after scoring six goals in just four games. The step up to the Premier League once more proved too much for Abel, he scored just 4 goals in 24 appearances for the Tigers. He never looked good enough for the Premier League but looked a class above every other player in the Championship.
His international career has been good too, representing Uruguay at senior level at the 2011 Copa America win, the 2012 Olympics and in the Confederations Cup, where he became the fourth player in the tournament’s history to score four goals in a single match, and the 2014 World Cup. He’s scored 11 goals in 27 appearances for his country, which is remarkable when you think he is the third-choice striker behind Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani. However, given that Abel was best known last season for missing a penalty in the 86th minute in their cup tie with Fulham, before being tripped by the keeper and given another, before missing that one too, maybe Hernandez needs a new fresh start, and where better than B9 under the Redknapp Revolution?
Personally, this is a no brainer to me, Hernandez is a striker I’ve been a massive fan of for so long now. If this speculation is true then I’m urging Redknapp to work some magic on this one. It does seem like Redknapp is looking at a big frontman, our link with Hugill epitomizes such desires, and if so Hernandez seems the perfect fit. Redknapp is also known for his use of a small fast striker paired up with a larger target man, Defoe and Crouch for example. Given that he has always utilized wingers heavily in his formations in the past, Blues are going to need to rely on a natural finisher to make this work, something Abel has built his career. When you combine all this with the fact that he’s only 26, he looks the perfect signing, he’s still got at least five years left in him and he’s about to enter his prime. How long have we been saying we need a striker who can grab you 20 or so goals a season?
Comment below your preferred strike force next season, here is mine:
Alternatively, I would like to see this too:
By Joel Grenan #KRO