Birmingham head coach John Eustace has passed comment on transfer speculation surrounding rising star George Hall, claiming he is “not at all” surprised he has attracted the interest of other clubs – namely Leeds – after his impressive performances so far this season.
18 year-old Hall is one of several youngsters making regular appearances for the Championship club’s senior side this term, having played in all but two Championship matches since breaking into the squad in early August.
A recent report in the Daily Mail [12th November] described Hall’s move to Leeds as “inevitable”, as the Blues seek to generate funds to sign current Wolves loanee Dion Sanderson permanently in the January transfer window.
BirminghamLive contest such a claim, however, stating that as Hall is still contractually obliged to Birmingham City for 18 months, “his development is better served by playing regular senior football in the Championship than for the Under 21s at a Premier League Club” [16th November].
When asked about Leeds’ reported interest in Hall, manager Eustace was quick to convert conjecture into outright praise.
“George is a brilliant player, a really good young player and I expect it with all our young players. George’s performances this season have been very, very good”, he said.
“He has made 16-17 appearances now – last season he made two appearances. It’s my job to develop him properly, which I feel like we are doing. We are giving him starts, he is impacting off the bench but it’s all about his development.
“It’s just about his development, he’s just turned 18, we have to put things into perspective here, we are giving all these young boys a fantastic opportunity to showcase themselves in a very, very good environment.
“We are at a stage where we are looking to rebuild the club. It’s not about any individual it’s about creating the right environment, culture and making sure that whoever turns up on a Saturday is ready and committed. I think we are doing that.”
Protesting too much
It’s noteworthy that, in Eustace’s response to being asked about the transfer speculation surrounding his player, little time is actually devoted to discussing what he was actually questioned on. Perhaps he is genuinely concerned about the constant rumours impacting Hall’s development or – viewed more cynically – he is intending to prevent the Blues gaining the ire of their supporters for letting another promising young player slip through their grasp.
The loss of a potential future star to Leeds will, of course, be felt even more keenly by Birmingham fans after Amari Miller signed for the Whites last season.
The reality exists that if Leeds were to approach the West Midlands club with a large enough offer for Hall they would be foolish not to accept, especially considering that they have their own sights set on securing the services of Sanderson.
As for what Leeds would gain from signing Hall remains to be seen, but given the ability Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta has for scoping out young talent and then establishing a pathway for them into the first team, signs appear promising.
Definitely one to watch.