BCFC: Letting Go

Emilio Nsue today left Birmingham City to join APOEL of the Cypriot First Division for an undisclosed fee. The move came just under a year after the Equatoguinean international signed for Blues from Middlesbrough.

Birmingham City FC

Nb 00:00 CET 10/01/18 – The club has added an additional line to the Nsue article on the official site wishing him good luck in the future.

Nsue leaving is not the most unsurprising thing to happen in this window.

The 28-year-old had not made a start for Blues since early December and with Maxime Colin back to full fitness, was unlikely to get a start for the foreseeable future.

With Blues having four right-backs in the squad before Nsue left, it was inevitable he would leave the club should an offer come in – if only to free up his rather hefty wage packet.

What has struck me about his departure is what Blues have said – or rather, what they didn’t say.

Blues confirmed Nsue’s departure on Monday afternoon with a short piece on the website.

However, the return to fitness of Maxime Colin has seen the Frenchman preferred as the first choice at right-back.

There is also back-up for the position, with Josh Dacres-Cogley returning to the fold as substitute in the FA Cup on Saturday as Nsue flew to Cyprus to seal his move.

Arsenal loanee Carl Jekinson is another alternative and Wes Harding, who made his senior debut at right-back in August, is nearing return to full fitness after a knee injury.

To me, the piece seems to hammer the home that Nsue was deadwood and not required. There was nothing in the piece wishing him good luck with his future career.

Now, it might be me reading too much into the piece, but on the same day David Popa was released from his contract and that statement had the words

Everyone at Birmingham City FC wishes David well in his future career

while the piece about David Cotterill being released also has

It was a mutual agreement and Cotterill leaves St. Andrew’s with our sincere thanks for his service.

Of course, there has been a lot of talk about “bad eggs” in recent months and I think Emilio Nsue is one of the easiest to target with this slur after his rather public spat on the pitch following the away draw to Rotherham.

Is the lack of best wishes Blues’ subtle way of confirming this?

For what it’s worth, Emilio was much more magnanimous in his own farewell post on Instagram.

For me, this window was always going to be about who departed and I think Nsue is the first of maybe three or four departures I’m expecting to give Steve Cotterill wiggle room both in wages and squad size.

While it’s obvious that Nsue never worked out – it also leaves Craig Gardner as the only active player signed in that January window (barring Lukas Jutkiewicz, whose transfer had been agreed beforehand).

Let’s hope 2018 is the year of progress and improvement we all wanted 2017 to be – and that the signings we make this month last longer than last year.

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