Date: 1st June 2017 at 2:45pm
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When Gianfranco Zola signed Kerim Frei from Besiktas in the January transfer window, I think we were all excited at what the winger would bring to the club.

To spend over £2m on a player midway through the season was a real statement shown by Zola and the board that simply hasn’t paid off so far.

We all know what happened with Zola but Frei was a player sacrificed as a result of a change in style when the dire results continued under the Italian.

The 23-year-old is very much a luxury player who undoubtably has bags of talent as well as experience in European competition.

We all saw his class when he belted in that free kick away at Rotherham where it might’ve looked like his Blues career was finally about to get going.

However, when Zola was sacked and Harry Redknapp was brought in, Frei was still the man who had to sacrifice himself for the team.

If I were him then I would be having doubts about my future and you’d start questioning whether the move back to England was the right one.

He knows that the future of the club and its Championship status was the priority but now, after survival, things are different.

In some ways he has just been unlucky in a sense that things went so wrong under Zola and he was the player affected by a change in approach.

Frei has the chance to begin a clean slate at St. Andrew`s with a new season full of hope and optimism under Redknapp.

The doubts I have are whether Redknapp sees Frei as a man that can contribute to the team in both an attacking way but also defensively.

I am sure that the 70-year-old will want to play a more attacking style than he played in the three games he took charge of at the end of the season where he had no other choice but to play with defensive solidity as the priority.

Any manager in the Championship would love to have someone like Frei at their disposal who can change a game in a blinker.

My worry is that Frei won’t necessarily be seen as a starter at the club. He`ll most likely have to settle for an impact role off the bench which he will definitely not want.

A player of his quality should be starting games week in week out but in the demands of the Championship, I question whether he`ll be that involved in Redknapp`s plans.

I’d love to see more of Frei in a Blues shirt and I still believe that he can be successful for us and if he impresses during pre-season, then he could well work his way into Redknapp`s thinking.

If he’s playing in a Blues side at full throttle, challenging at the higher ends of the table, then there’s no doubt that he can be influential at the club.

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