Lee Carsley completed his move from Everton to Birmingham City yesterday after passing his medical and the 34-year-old midfielder could have some team-mates who are half his age next season.
Manager Alex McLeish has signalled his intention to tap into the emerging talent coming through the ranks at St Andrew's during the coming campaign but former Blues captain Martin O'Connor has appealed for patience in the development of the young players.
McLeish has suggested Academy players Sone Aluko, Kyrstian Pearce and Jordan Mutch could all feature during in the Championship and O'Connor, who is one of four former Blues stars who work on a flourishing community coaching scheme, believes the club could have a bright future if the players coming through are given time to flourish.
O'Connor hailed the job of Academy manager Terry Westley and said that the so-called dearth of talent in England wasn't as bad as many people said, but he did urge English coaches to follow the examples set in other European countries.
"We have a good youth policy at St Andrew's and our Academy is doing well," said O'Connor, who works with 65 teenagers aged between 16-18 alongside Graham Hyde, Kevan Broadhurst and Kevin Poole.
"We have to produce more players for the first team but then if you ask every club they are all in the same boat. We are all looking for that gem and we need to put trust, patience and time into some of these young players."
The trio were been on the fringe of the first team last season. Sixteen-year-old midfielder Mutch almost broke Trevor Francis' record as the youngest player ever to appear for the Blues' first team and was due to make his debut in a Carling Cup tie at Blackburn Rovers until registration problems thwarted him and then he was left on the bench as Blues crashed out of the FA Cup at Huddersfield Town.
Nineteen-year-old striker Aluko made his debut for Blues in the Carling Cup against Hereford United last season before joining Aberdeen for a successful loan spell, while 18-year-old defender Pearce had loan spells at Notts County and Port Vale. Both are England under-19 internationals.
O'Connor said the way McLeish handles the young players will be a key factor to whether they will establish themselves in the first team.
"A sign of a good manager isn't just spotting a young player and putting him in but knowing when to take him out as well," said O'Connor, who is considering a coaching of
fer in Belgium. "A young player can have all the ability in the world but they won't last a full season. A season is a long time in football and young players, despite their abilities, can burn out and we don't want that. We want them fresh and enjoying their football.
"Now we have some good players coming through, we need to develop them and keep them. A good coach will develop them and make them better."
O'Connor said coaching in this country can improve and he called upon his time in Belgium recently as an example.
"I don't think the development of young talent in this country is as bad as some say," O'Connor said.
"You have to look at the influx of foreign players, that affects the abilities and the progression of young footballers. Generally the Academies and the Schools of Excellence are good at introducing good players, but they have to have a chance of fulfilling their potential in first teams and reserve teams.
"You only have to look abroad at the systems in place and we can learn from them. I have coached in Belgium and their set up is totally different to ours and it does look like the foreign clubs are producing home-grown talent to a better standard. That is something we have to look at."
Meanwhile, former Blues loanee Borja Oubina has rejected the offer of a trial at Tottenham Hotspur. The Celta Vigo midfielder, who made two appearances for Blues last season before a serious knee injury inflicted at Liverpool curtailed his stay at St Andrew's, said he had nothing to prove.
"From the outset I thought it was a surreal idea," he said. "My current contract is with Celta and I have nothing to prove to anybody.
"It flatters me that they think about me and have taken into account my situation.
"And I understand that they want to see me before buying. But I do not know that they can assess me because, in five or ten days, not too many conclusions can be made."