Birmingham City have today announced the signing of highly rated Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe on a loan deal until the end of the season.
18-year-old Ibe joined Liverpool from Wycombe Wanderers in December 2011. Prior to that move he had become the youngest ever player to play for Wycombe aged 15 years and 244 and scored on his first ever senior start in a match against Sheffield Wednesday. He duly ran to celebrate with his family in the crowd.
Ibe will now play alongside Federico Macheda at Birmingham who is on loan from Manchester United. Macheda scored three goals in his first two games for the club, and also enjoyed a spell on loan at Doncaster Rovers earlier this season. The Italian is accustomed to loan deals away from Old Trafford whilst this will be Ibe's first.
The loan represents different things for both players. When Macheda burst onto the scene in 2009 as a 17-year-old great things were expected of him. He scored a wonderful goal against Aston Villa and followed it up with a goal at Sunderland too. He played a big part in United tying up the title in that season. Unfortunately he has never progressed as expected and is unlikely to be given many more opportunities at Old Trafford. This could represent his last chance at proving he can be a success with United or even in England.
Whilst for Jordon Ibe it is a great opportunity to get a regular run of games in a great, competitive league. He has already featured in the league for Liverpool this season, and they have high hopes for him.
Birmingham City are obviously trusted to help develop young players as they have three players from Manchester United; Tyler Blackett and Tom Thorpe as well, although Thorpe is injured, Emyr Huws and Albert Rusnak from Manchester City and Shane Ferguson and Scott Allan from Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion effectively.
The Blues are suffering from financial difficulties so loan deals remain their best hope of attracting quality to the team, and Lee Clark now has a good blend in the squad to help move them forward. They are currently in 18th place nine points ahead of the relegation places. Clark has also brought through a few of the club's own youngsters into the first team. Will Packwood, Callum Reilly, and Mitch Hancox are all talented individuals.
Ibe and Macheda will be the focus of the side's attacking threat, and Liverpool and Manchester United will be working together and striving for success. Ibe's pace on the wing will be able to create opportunities for Macheda, and they will hope to benefit from each other.