Incoming Birmingham City manager must prioritise one signing above all others

The beginning of June normally acts as the trigger for the transfer dominoes to start falling. Holidays are over and footballers are now deciding whether they will be staying put or pushing for a move when this summer’s transfer window opens on June 14.

Birmingham City are gearing up for another busy summer, a year on from a transformative window where the club signed 13 new players. Just eight of those players remain with the club and their futures aren’t certain following relegation to League One.

We are all waiting for the club’s new manager, whoever it may be, to shape the squad. The new boss won’t control absolutely everything, that’s for certain. The recruitment team will present players that fit the club’s newly adopted possession-based, attacking philosophy and the committee will pick the best option for each position.

We can presume the new incumbent will have a big say, though. Last year, chief executive Garry Cook told BirminghamLive that it would be “professionally naive if you didn’t listen to the manager on what he needs and what he wants.”

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Tony Mowbray arrived in January and quickly identified that Blues’ difficulties keeping possession stemmed from a lack of technically gifted midfielders. Andre Dozzell, Paik Seung-ho and Alex Pritchard were signed to varying degrees of success.

If Blues are to succeed with the ball, then signing a goalkeeper with ball-playing skills will be important. There is at least one vacancy in Blues’ goalkeeping department following the exit of Neil Etheridge and there could be another if John Ruddy rejects the contract offer on the table.

Nobody doubts Ruddy’s leadership qualities, nor his shot-stopping skills or his ability to command a packed penalty area, but his long-term successor in the Blues goal needs to marry those talents up with the art of starting attacks from the back. Goalkeepers nowadays are expected to play striker-splitting passes to pick out midfielders and drop lofted balls onto the feet of full-backs.

They do exist. Ryan Allsop wasn’t pulling up that many trees in the Championship before Liam Rosenior noticed his talent in possession.

Signing the right goalkeeper for the style of play that Blues’ owners Knighthead crave should be the new manager’s first port of call. Blues need to build right from the back before they worry about the other pieces of the jigsaw.

Do you agree that a ball-playing goalkeeper should be the priority? Have your say in the comments section HERE