Date: 26th January 2017 at 3:42pm
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There are not many fiercer rivals in football than Aston Villa and Birmingham City. This season sees both sides face each other in the league but it is not only on the pitch that there is severe competition. Both clubs have been after the current Bournemouth winger, Max Gradel in the January transfer window according to speculation. (Source:

Max Gradel first become well known when he played for Leeds United whereby he really burst onto the scene with his pace and also his finishing ability. He was a nightmare to play against as he was very unpredictable and this run of form led to his rise into the Ivory Coast national team. Since his move to Bournemouth, he has been out of favour after some injuries, and it has meant that he has spent more time off the pitch than he has playing. This has led to increased speculation that he is looking for a loan move for the rest of the season and Birmingham City are amongst those that are linked.

In my article yesterday, I wrote about Cotterill not being the style of player that Zola likes. It is clear that he likes players out wide with a lot of pace and tricks. Less David Beckham and more Dimmy Gray for want of a better comparison. His signings at wingback have shown that he loves pace down the sides of the pitch and the departure of Caddis only further improves this. So if we are looking for a winger, I certainly would not be surprised.

Not only are we lacking in this department in terms of numbers, the quality is also lacking. When we have the heading ability of Lukas in the middle, then it is crucial that we can get the players to provide a service to the big man. Gradel would suit us perfectly in my opinion. He may not be the sharpest currently but he is just what we need. He can cut inside on his weaker foot if need be and can operate on either flank which offers a level of flexibility that we haven’t seen at the Blues’ for an awful long time.

Gradel also is able to change a game from the bench. There are some subs that make a real difference and you feel that even if you are down in the game, then this player can make a difference. Gradel is one of those players that can be brought on as an impact sub. When the other team is tiring, then he will be perfect to cause trouble. His final ball is pretty much always spot on but mainly because he gets himself into spaces to provide a cross. He is also a goalscorer which has been lacking outwide ever since Cotts and Maghoma’s confidence have decreased. Only time will tell but for a loan move, it would be a great acquisition in the short term.

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