Until quite late yesterday, I was thinking there would be nothing to talk about this week except yet more re-branding stuff, but, after a period when speculation about player arrivals/departures slowed to a trickle, City suddenly announced that they had signed Birmingham’s England Under 21 midfield player Jordon Mutch on a three year contract. Mutch played under Malky Mackay as a nineteen year old in a successful loan spell at Watford in 2010/11 during which he played a big part in City’s 4-1 loss at Vicarage Road a few days after Christmas. Indeed, his form at Watford ensured that he broke into the Birmingham first team when he returned to them and he featured a few times in the St. Andrews side’s unsuccessful battle to stay in the Premiership. After missing most of the first half of last season through injury, Mutch became an automatic choice in the Birmingham starting line up and, I think it’s fair to say that he would currently be regarded as one of the best young midfield players in the Championship.
I can remember watching Mutch score this goal (it’s about 2 minutes 40 into the video) at West Ham on Easter Monday after another of the uninspiring home City performances which, sadly, became the norm from February onwards and saying how much we could do with someone who could show the same drive and urgency from central midfield. However, as has been remarked by some on City messageboards overnight, I thought he was bound for the Premiership or, possibly, one of the sides relegated from that division and assumed he was out of our reach. What seems to have happened though is that City have taken advantage of Birmingham’s financial turmoil and acted quickly to get a player which they were probably always going to have to sell once they didn’t get promoted. As is usually the case these days, the fee City paid for Mutch is “undisclosed”, but the figure of £900,000 is being mentioned a lot on messageboards, while the local media is talking in terms of a fee in excess of £1 million – either way, it seems to me that we’ve got a bargain.
A note of caution though, based on what I’ve seen (which, admittedly isn’t that much), Mutch will not be a replacement for Peter Whittingham if it turns out that the only real transfer rumour of the week is true and our best player signs for West Brom. As far as I’m aware, Mutch doesn’t have a reputation for dead ball excellence and I don’t believe you’ll see him knocking in crosses of the quality we’ve seen from Whittingham – Mutch is a technically good player, with the physical advantages of size and stamina in his favour, but I’m not sure he’ll add a great deal of flair to the team.
It’s still a very good signing though in my opinion and gives a hint at least that, perhaps, the talk of Malky Mackay being “massively happy” with the financial backing he’s been given is not just our manager being loyal to his employees. Either way, in Mutch and new goalkeeper Joe Lewis, you would like to think that we have two more young players who, at a time, when the size of our debt is being talked about so much, will be assets to us not just on the pitch, but also, in the same way that players such as Turner, Gunnarsson and and Mason are, in terms of the club’s finances as well.
Just one other short note to finish, an organisation called “Keep Cardiff Blue” was formed this week with the sole intention of getting the decision to change the club’s kit and badge reversed – their website is still in the process of being completed, but it can be visited here.