November 27, 2014 by bluenosebible
By Tom Giles
Zigic is somewhat of a cult hero at Birmingham City and his lanky figure of 6 ft 8 makes him instantly recognisable. He scored the opening goal in the 2011 League Cup Final and scored a vital goal which helped steer Blues towards safety in the Championship away at Bolton on the last day of last season.
Zigic has recently been training with Birmingham having left just four months ago after his £60k a week contract expired. New manager Gary Rowett is keen to have a look at him as he looks to improve the squad. The Serb was linked with a surprise move to Arsenal in the summer transfer window, something which Arsene Wenger himself denied.
There has been no assertion from Rowett that Zigic will definitely be given a contract and, in a recent interview, emphasised that the club are purely just having a look at him to see if he can bring something different to the team and to see if he is up to the challenge.
So, should Birmingham sign Zigic?
Being one of the tallest footballers in the world, Zigic definitely brings something different to the team with his height which causes chaos amongst defenders who seem to be almost distracted by the big Serb. This distraction means that other his teammates are not given as much attention from defenders, allowing them to play more freely. However, Zigic’s height does lead to a temptation for goalkeepers and defenders to take the easy option and simply hoof the ball up to him without any real sense of purpose which leads to ugly football.
It can be said that re-signing Zigic is taking backward steps into the club’s past when really the club needs to be moving forward under the new manager. However, just because Zigic was involved in the previous regime does not mean he would poison the new one. Most of the squad were at St. Andrews under the previous manager and they do not seem to be creating a poisonous environment, in fact, quite the opposite. Clayton Donaldson has expressed that he would be happy if Zigic were to sign a contract with the club saying that it would create competition for striking places which can only be good for the club.
A further argument is that Zigic at 34 years of age is far too old for the squad and for a team trying to play exciting football an aged tall player is not what the club needs. However, the fact that Zigic is 34 is irrelevant as his style of play does not require energetic running around. He also gives a different option off the bench, assuming Clayton Donaldson and Wes Thomas will remain first choice strikers, which is useful if Birmingham are 1-0 down with 10 minutes to go as it encourages players to put the ball directly into the box toward him and create more opportunities. This long ball tactic toward Zigic is more useful in these game situations rather than playing the whole game in this style.
Zigic still lives locally and is said to be a very pleasant person when talking to fans when he is out and about the city and his family are settled in the city. Zigic would clearly be on a lower wage than his previous stint with the club as the maximum wage now offered to a player is around £5k a week, less than 10% what Zigic was on before.
Due to his previous wages it seems Blues fans are somewhat negative towards the idea of Zigic returning to the club. However, it is important to remember that it was not his fault that the board gave him such a silly contract with no relegation clause when he arrived in June 2010. Hopefully Rowett will see him as a completely new player and forget his recent ties to the club and judge him the same way he would judge a new player, which he has stated he will.
During his previous stint at Blues, Zigic seemed to be too eager to be involved in the build up play with short passes into feet and wanted to play more as a number ten rather than the main target man. In this case after a pretty build up, when the ball finally came into the box, Zigic was not in there to put the chance away. If he could adapt his game to simply be a striker in the box who is not involved in the build up then he would be a huge asset to the team, pun intended!
Overall I believe Zigic would be a good signing for the club just because he offers something completely different and has a knack of scoring vital goals. However, I would limit his role to being third choice behind Donaldson and Thomas and bring him off the bench if Blues are in trouble towards the end of the game. It would be best to sign him on a very short term contract, such is the trend at Birmingham nowadays, and then see if there are any better options in the coming weeks.
Should Rowett bring Zigic back to St. Andrews?