Birmingham City have completed the signing of striker Marcus Bent from Charlton Athletic and the transfer of French midfielder Olivier Kapo has finally gone through as manager Alex McLeish continued his squad rebuilding.
Bent agreed his £1million switch from The Valley after Blues sabotaged Cardiff City’s attempts to sign the 30-year-old former Everton centre-forward. Bent had been on his way to finalise his move to south Wales when he heard of Blues’ interest and immediately informed Cardiff of his desire to join McLeish’s men instead. He now joins Kevin Phillips, Cameron Jerome, James McFadden and Gary O’Connor in Blues’ five-pronged attack.
Heading out of the door was Kapo, who finally completed his £3.5 switch to the JJB Stadium. His move was blocked on Tuesday by Birmingham as the 27-year-old had not paid his fine after turning up late for pre-season training late.
The France international claimed he had been in his homeland undergoing an operation on a hand injury. Kapo had indicated his reluctance to drop into the Championship and McLeish said his move was in the best interests of both parties.
“Olivier is a good player and was a good lad in the dressing room,” McLeish said. “But in the end his heart wasn’t in playing for Birmingham City and when the opportunity came to accept a decent offer, that’s what we did. I think it’s the right decision for everyone.
“Inevitably players do leave but they also arrive - you only have to look at names like Lee Carsley, Kevin Phillips and now Marcus Bent, all of whom we have signed over the last few weeks. I know the areas we need to strengthen as a team and as a squad.”
Kapo said he was delighted to be linking up again with Latics boss Steve Bruce, who signed him for Birmingham last summer from Juventus for £3 million. He joins fellow former Blues stars Emile Heskey, Wilson Palacios, Mario Melchiot and Daniel de Ridder at Wigan.
“It’s fantastic to be signing for a club like Wigan,” Kapo said. “As soon as I spoke with Steve and he told me his plans for the next few years, I wanted to come. Steve is a fantastic manager and this club is going places. I really want to be playing for them now.”
Meanwhile, Blues have had a few injury concerns during their pre-season tour of Austria. Club captain Damien Johnson has been sent home for treatment after suffering back spasms. Midfielder Sebastian Larsson sat out Tuesday’s 7-0 friendly victory over Kirchberg because of muscle soreness in his hamstring, while Stuart Parnaby had to be taken off because of severe cramp.
“Damien’s back has been feeling very uncomfortable and has seized up,” McLeish explained. “We felt it best to get him back home to receive some one-on-one treatment as the physiotherapist here has his work cut out with all the other players. We’ll continue to assess and treat Damien and see where we go from there.”