Birmingham City boss reveals long-time pursuit of Brek Shea

Birmingham City FC - St. Andrews

Birmingham City boss Lee Clark has admitted his desire to sign new loanee Brek Shea from Stoke City for some time, having tried to add the midfielder on a permanent deal at the start of the season.

Birmingham City manager Lee Clark has revealed that he wanted to sign Brek Shea from Stoke City on a permanent deal at the start of the season, prior to landing the US international on a three-month loan.

Shea, 24, joins fellow Americans Jonathan Spector and Will Packwood at the club, with the deal set to keep him at St Andrew’s until December 13, and Clark admits he has been pursuing the midfielder’s signature for some time.

‘I've been chasing Brek for a while and actually wanted to sign him permanently at the start of the season,’ he told bcfc.com.

‘He impressed me when he played for Barnsley here at St Andrew's on New Year's Day and, given our recent injuries, it made sense to make this loan move, importantly with no recall clause being something that I have stressed all along.’

The loan spell is Shea’s second in the Championship since joining Stoke from MLS club FC Dallas in January 2013 for £2.5 million, having previously seen a stint at Barnsley during the second-half of last season cut short following an incident in which he made an obscene gesture to a fan.

Once considered the most promising talent in the American game, the left winger’s reputation has taken a serious hit during his 18 months at the Britannia, having failed to make a first-team appearance so far this season after being deemed surplus to requirements under manager Mark Hughes.

Beginning his professional career with Dallas after being drafted second overall in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, the Texas-native scored 19 goals in 112 games during his five seasons at the club, finishing as a finalist for the MVP award in 2011, while also make his US debut in 2010.

Going on to earn 27 caps since, including a substitute appearance in last week’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic, he has remained on the fringes of Jurgen Klinsmann’s setup despite his recent struggles, but the German head coach has admitted his frustration at seeing him fail to gain regular first-team minutes.

Also linked to Southampton during the closing stages of the transfer window, as well with moves to the Bundesliga and Eredivisie, the stint at Birmingham now allows Shea to get his still-promising career back on track, and perhaps act as a stepping stone to a permanent departure from Stoke.

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