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Opinion: Birmingham City should consider 30-year-old free agent to bolster squad this summer

Birmingham City have been on a steep downward trajectory for some years in the Championship and they will need to improve their recruitment in the coming years.

With off-field murmurs around a potential takeover still ongoing, it is important that the Blues act in a smart manner while it remains unclear what the future holds off the pitch.

In looking to do this, they should be making use of the free agent market ahead of pre-season, particularly after Kristian Pedersen and Jeremie Bela left the club.

One player who could certainly represent a like for like replacement for Bela would be Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

The 30-year-old’s ability has never been in doubt and he reaches the end of his contract at Sheffield Wednesday this summer.

Mendez-Laing did not nail down a starting berth in League One this season, but that is more down to the depth of options Darren Moore had in forward areas and his fitness.

The former Cardiff City man signed for the Owls as a free agent in late November, and for that reason he was playing catch-up for the vast majority of the season.

With a full pre-season behind him, there is no doubt that Mendez-Laing should be playing in the Championship at this stage of his career, and he would be an excellent signing for Birmingham if he could be regularly available.

With Lyle Taylor, Tahith Chong and Onel Hernandez returning their parent clubs, it seems unlikely that the latter two will return to the club on permanent deals.

Mendez-Laing is not dissimilar to Hernandez in his style of play, and he was deployed in a variety of positions at Wednesday, that could give him some more value to Bowyer’s squad.

The Blues have mainly deployed a 3-5-2 formation this season, and at this stage of his career, Mendez-Laing would be more suited to playing in a front two.

Quiz: Can you name which club Birmingham City sold these 23 players to from the last decade?

Scott Hogan is a very intelligent striker at second tier level and has built a good understanding with Lukas Jutkiewicz in recent years.

With Jutkiewicz’s powers fading and Troy Deeney struggling to catch the imagination this season, Mendez-Laing would be a refreshing option in the final third.

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