Transfer news – Brum go for Alkmaar striker Dembele
Alex McLeish is eyeing up a move for AZ Alkmaar’s Belgian international striker Moussa Dembele after finding his bid for Bobby Zamora falling on deaf ears.
Birmingham City are in desperate need of a goalscorer after netting just 38 times in the league last season – only five teams scored fewer – and despite an impressive campaign where they finished ninth, could be looking warily at the relegation zone.
Birmingham are 7/1 to be relegated from the Premier League.
22-year-old Dembele can operate on either flank or up front and had been widely tipped for a move to Fiorentina earlier this summer but the player’s cash demands are believed to have stalled any move.
However, the youngster may not be the answer to all Brum’s problems – he’s bagged an unconvincing 29 times in four seasons at AZ.
McLeish had been inquiring about Fulham’s Zamora but, with no manager in the West Londoner’s hot seat, proceedings have stalled. Martin Jol is now the 11/10 favourite to take over at Craven Cottage after Ottmar Hitzfeld ruled himself out.
With 6’8″ Nikola Zigic joing from Valencia, Birmingham’s frontline is already bolstered, but even the Serbian isn’t prolific – with just five goals in three seasons at the Mestalla.
The ease with which Birmingham avoided the dog fight at the Premier League basement was remarkable and largely built on an imposing defence, which conceded only 47 goals. With a bit of money to spend they could improve this term but seem unlikely, at 33/1, to make next season’s Champions League.
Joe Hart, the PFA’s goalkeeper of the year, will be absent from that defensive unit, and while the capture of Ben Foster is a shrewd one, the shot-stopper has not progressed as well as anticpated.
Ominously, Foster kept goal for the Watford side which finished bottom of the Premier League in 2006/07.
Birmingham should avoid that fate, but will need a good start away to Sunderland if they are to side-step the now medically-recognised ‘Second Season Syndrome’.
Reading, Hull City and Ipswich all went down after having successful top-flight season’s following promotions.
With Big Eck’s smart management, a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light on the opening day is possible, at 8/1.
Stoke City, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers are all on the periphery of the relegation zone but could also be looking to build on consolatory seasons. They are 5/1, 4/1 and 5/1 to be relegated respectively. See the full Premier League betting market.