6 assists and 4 goals – Why Garry Monk must go all out to bring this former Premier League playmaker to Birmingham City
Having chosen not to extend his contract with Leeds United at the end of last season, Garry Monk finds himself at somewhat of a crossroads in his career right now. He has undertaken his third Championship job inside a year, having taken over from Steve Cotterill as Birmingham City’s new manager.
The former Swansea City player and manager took a job at Middlesbrough last year believing they were a better bet for him to gain promotion to the Premier League. However, things didn’t go so well at the Riverside and Monk was sacked in favour of old warhorse Tony Pulis.
Birmingham themselves have had little luck in changing their fortunes. The Blues are slowly declining these days with the appointments of Harry Redknapp and Cotterill doing little to change things for the better.
Monk has signed a three-and-a-half year deal at St. Andrews and is tasked with keeping the club in the Championship before going for a promotion charge next season.
With Monk’s appointment, there has been speculation suggesting that he could turn to his former Leeds player Pablo Hernandez, in an attempt to bring him to Birmingham City. The former Swansea star is nearing the end of his current contract at Elland Road and could be available for free.
Signing Hernandez at no cost would represent somewhat of a coup bearing in mind that, despite his age (32), the attacking midfielder remains one of the most talented players in this division.
As has been proven by the teams who have won promotion over the last decade or so, long gone are the days of long balls, fighting and scrapping to get out of this division. Those who think otherwise, frankly, are dinosaurs.
As well as those with pace, talented ball players win games in this league and on that front, Hernandez is at the top of the list. He is rather slow, granted, but his eye for a killer final ball is not to be beaten at this level and he can certainly finish when he gets the chance.
In 25 Championship starts this season, Hernandez has claimed 6 assists and averages 2 key passes per game. He has netted four times from midfield and has been declared the Man of the Match twice. He managed to do all this despite being the second choice in his favoured role.
Everything he’s done this season on paper can be upgraded given that he’s been asked to play 17 of his games from the left and only 7 in the centre. Played in the middle of a 4-2-3-1 at Birmingham behind a quick striker would bring rewards next term and it can all be done for nothing up front.