"Would have been an excellent signing" - Birmingham City fan pundit reacts to missed QPR January deal | OneFootball

"Would have been an excellent signing" - Birmingham City fan pundit reacts to missed QPR January deal | OneFootball

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Football League World

·2 February 2024

"Would have been an excellent signing" - Birmingham City fan pundit reacts to missed QPR January deal

Article image:"Would have been an excellent signing" - Birmingham City fan pundit reacts to missed QPR January deal

This article is part of Football League World's 'Terrace Talk' series, which provides personal opinions from our FLW Fan Pundits regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Birmingham City had a fairly active end to the January transfer window.


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The Blues were able to reunite Tony Mowbray with one of his former players from Sunderland: Alex Pritchard. The 30-year-old winger has joined the club for an undisclosed fee, on a two-and-a-half-year deal, subject to FA clearance. Pritchard's contract with the Black Cats was up at the end of the season, and, according to The Sun, he and the club weren't able to reach an agreement due to the proposed length of contract that he was offered, and he demanded a transfer, as per The Mirror.

Seung-ho Paik from Jeonbuk Hyundai also arrived late on while QPR midfielder Andre Dozzell was brought in on loan midway through the window.

But Pritchard wasn't the only winger that the Blues were looking at. Mowbray was eye Queens Park Rangers wide player Ilias Chair before the close of the window on the 1st February 2024. In fact, it went a bit further than initial interest.

The Blues made a bid for the 26-year-old Moroccan over a week before the window closed, according to Darren Witcoop. That bid - the size of which has not been revealed - was rejected by the Rs, and Witcoop added that Birmingham would not be returning with another offer for him on deadline day.

Chair has provided five assists, and scored three goals too, for a struggling QPR side, this season. He's also been averaging a 7.19/10 Sofascore match rating for the 23/24 Championship campaign.

"He would have been an excellent signing"

After hearing about the club's attempts to sign the 26-year-old, FLW's Blues fan pundit Mike Gibbs has spoken to us about what he thinks of the failed move.

Gibbs said that he believes Chair would have been a great addition to Mowbray's side.

"When I've seen him play I've been full of praise for him. He's a creative player who orchestrates and quarterbacks a game. He's very technical, and he's just the sort of player that Mowbray would want in his team."

He added: "It is what it is. I think we're pretty well stocked in that department anyway, if you look at the players that we already had, and the ones we brought in. We've got a plethora of attacking midfielders now, so it'll be interesting to see how they slot into the system and who gets the minutes."

Gibbs said that he was surprised that none of the club's advanced midfielders left in the January window.

"There were rumours about Keshi Anderson, who I really like; I think he's a great player. I'm surprised Oliver Burke is still there, because he's been pretty poor."

The Birmingham Mail reported that Anderson did attract some interest and that the club would have allowed him to leave because he has less than six months left on his contract.

Birmingham may have missed a trick with Ilias Chair

Article image:"Would have been an excellent signing" - Birmingham City fan pundit reacts to missed QPR January deal

The fees offered in both the Pritchard deal and the Chair deal are unknown; the offer to make the latter leave QPR was probably higher than the one needed to bring Pritchard away from Sunderland due to age and contract length. But, long-term, Chair was probably the one who's going to work out better for the Blues.

The new ownership model obviously have a clear plan as to how they want the club to look going forward; that's what led to John Eustace being replaced by Wayne Rooney. If you have this long-term vision, then bringing in a 26-year-old as opposed to a 30-year-old is probably the smarter deal to make.

On top of this, Chair has been at least as productive, if not more, for a poor Rs team than Pritchard was for Sunderland, who were in the play-offs.

Getting Pritchard was almost certainly the easier of the two deals to do, but it might not have been the better of the two.

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