Luke Turner assesses the situation regarding our number 10 position…
Having someone like Jon Toral at the club last season really was something special. But, now he’s returned back to Arsenal, it looks like Diego Fabbrini will battle it out with Andy Shinnie for that number 10 position.
Much was expected of Fabbrini when he returned to the club in January for £1.5m but the form of Toral meant that he found it hard to get going.
His form towards the last couple of games of the season was encouraging and I expect him to play a big part in the team next campaign.
But will the competition of just Shinnie be enough for him? When Gary Rowett first arrived at the club, one thing he was able to do was turn the fortunes of the Scot.
He was virtually unplayable during those first few months of the Rowett Revolution but then he seemed to drop a level again and lost his place in the team.
He made just 14 appearance for Blues last season before going on loan to Rotherham. He made three appearances there before not being able to find a way into the squad when Neil Warnock took charge of The Millers.
It’s clear to see that Shinnie is very much a confidence player and it`s hard to see whether or not he will produce the goods when called upon next season.
His record for Blues in terms of goals and assists isn’t the best so there are question marks over his creativity and eye for goal. He has hit the back of the net four time since moving from Inverness in 2013 which doesn’t really make for positive reading.
The same could be said for Fabbrini who has netted just six times in his three seasons in English football.
It’s unlikely that we will be able to lure Toral back to St Andrews for another season so, with that, means that a huge percentage of our source for goals from last season will be lost and someone else will have to fill the void left by him.
I’m not convinced that, if Fabbrini was to get injured or not perform himself, that Shinnie could be the man to step forward. Perhaps this is where a goalscoring striker comes into play or indeed another attacking midfielder.