Why Nakhi Wells could be a smart signing for Birmingham City in January
According to The Sun (h/t Birmingham Mail), Birmingham City have been credited with an interest in striker Nakhi Wells, who is currently on loan at Queens Park Rangers from Premier League outfit Burnley.
Having spent the entirety of the previous campaign on loan at Loftus Road, the 29-year-old Bermuda international returned to QPR for a second successive loan spell this summer and Wells has been instrumental in the club’s blistering start to the ongoing campaign.
Wells has chipped in with 7 goals and 2 assists in 13 Championship appearances for the R’s, who have taken one and all by surprise with their promising start to life under new manager Mark Warburton.
The 29-year-old has formed a formidable strike pairing with West Ham loanee Jordan Hugill and the duo remain central to the club’s hopes of mounting an unlikely promotion challenge this season.
The 29-year-old is in the final year of his Burnley contract and while the Clarets have the option to extend his stay by a further 12 months, they remain open to cashing in on the out-of-favour striker.
Wells, who scored 53 goals in 112 appearances in all competitions for Bradford City before making a move to Huddersfield Town in 2013, earned a move to the Premier League with Burnley in the summer of 2017 after playing a key role to propel the Terriers to the top-flight.
However, he has been back in the Championship since the start of the previous campaign after struggling to acclimatise to the top-flight, serving back-to-back loan spells at Loftus Road.
Having registered 7 goals and 6 assists for QPR last season, Wells has already equalled his goal tally from the previous campaign and he looks well on course to match his career-best returns of 17 goals in the second-tier for Huddersfield Town back in the 2015-16 season.
To put things into perspective, Birmingham City’s interest in Nakhi Wells comes as a piece of welcome news to the fans at St.Andrew’s.
City need to bolster their attacking resources in January if they are to push on for promotion and the 29-year-old seems to have the perfect CV as well as the right blend of attributes to add more dynamism to the club’s strike force.
Having won 7 and lost 7 of their first 15 games in the Championship, the Blues currently sit 12th in the standings following a hit-and-miss start to the season under Pep Clotet. However, they are only three points adrift of Bristol City for the final playoff spot and still very much in the hunt as one of the playoff contenders.
Lukas Jutkiewicz has kicked on this term after registering double figures both in terms of goals and assists.
The 30-year-old has found the net 4 times in 15 appearances so far and while those numbers might not look all that prolific, the veteran has certainly contributed a lot to every team he has played.
Birmingham City currently lack a partner for Jutkiewicz up top. Alvaro Gimenez was roped in from Almeria during the summer to play that role but the Spaniard’s lacklustre performances have forced Clotet to use Kerim Mrabti.
Well, such a gamble hasn’t paid any dividends so far and that is exactly why someone like Nahki Wells could well be the missing link that Birmingham City have been crying out for so desperately in the first quarter of the season.
A bonafide goalscorer at the Championship level with a wealth of Football League experience under his belt, the diminutive 29-year-old is known for his pace and ability to run behind defences, which should make him just the ideal foil for Jutkiewicz, who is more of a target man.
The quoted fee of £6million looks like a bit daunting for someone who is 29. And though the Blues might look for a young and hungry striker with better resale value in the future, Wells can make a lot of difference with his knowhow of the Championship.
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Proven goalscorers hardly come on the cheap these days and Birmingham City need to show more ambition if they are really serious about launching a bid for promotion. That said, Wells certainly fits the bill and Pep Clotet shouldn’t hesitate to dig deep into his transfer kitty to sign him up in January.