February 28, 2013 by Made In Brum
This morning, Blues have confirmed the month-long loan signing of Shane Ferguson from Newcastle, and the early signs of my research on him have pointed positively. The 21-year-old is already a Northern Ireland international, and has in fact played for Newcastle 14 times this season, although 7 of them were as a substitute.
He’s also played 7 times, and scored for his country. By all accounts, he’s also a very versatile left sided player, which could be useful. On Newcastle’s BBC Sport page, Ferguson is in fact registered as a defender.
However, it seems his most natural position is as a winger. I’ve googled his attributes on the football manager 2013 database and the general evidence I’ve found is that he’s a good crosser and dribbler, with a lot of pace. Also he’s quite a hardworking player, but he slightly lacks composure and decision making, a bit of a rash tackler and has little upper-body strength.
A contact of mine on twitter @jabbinho, who supports Newcastle, has said of him: “we like him. Glad he’s going on loan to develop. A winger by trade but plays left-back too. VERY good crosser, should be of benefit to you”
Although he has the ability to play left-back when required of him, the general consensus is that he’s best as a winger. This would probably fit with the squad situation at the moment, because only yesterday Rob Hall left the Blues to go back to West Ham and have his injury assessed. It was Hall who had played on the left wing in recent matches. Furthermore, Mitch Hancox impressed in defence the game at Peterborough, and we still have Paul Robinson in there, so I’d be surprised if Clark is looking for another left-back.
He has said of Ferguson: “I’ve been chasing him for a while so I’m delighted to get him in. He’s got great pedigree and is highly thought of.”
Knowing a bit about Ferguson now, I do feel optimistic that he can make a short-term contribution to the team. Personally, I’m not usually a fan of signing players on loan unless it’s absolutely necessary. There’s little danger of us going down now, so from an outsider’s point of view, I would have wanted to promote Koby Arthur, who is apparently a left winger, to provide cover for Nathan Redmond. That way, we can develop a method of self-sufficiency at a time when I would be prepared to prioritize developing players for the future, over short-term quality.
If Redmond played more games, we might be able to increase his value and attract some interest from Premiership clubs to better our finances. Also, Koby Arthur could become our secret weapon and if he came into the team and showed no fear, then we could develop another rising star to make some money out of. That’s the kind of gamble I think we should be taking to improve our club’s financial health, we’d have little to lose from sticking an academy graduate like Arthur in the team now and again, and a lot potentially to gain. You only have to look at the players we’ve developed from the youth system to know that promoting them can prove a success.
On the other hand, only Clark, and none of us, can see how good certain players are on the training pitch. We don’t see what Clark sees day in, day out, so I for one trust his decision to bring Ferguson in on loan. Personally, I’d prefer not to have a player play for us for only a month, I certainly don’t predict it will help improve what may already be an unstable environment. However, if Ferguson does make that impact and contributes some assists to help us get over the line of safety, then I’m more than happy to put these concerns aside.