Is Jota finally going to live up to his price tag at Birmingham City
There was a lot of excitement amongst Birmingham City fans in the summer when they forked out a fee in excess of £6 million to sign Jota from their Championship rivals Brentford. The Blues had Harry Redknapp in charge and were in positive mood after staying up on the final day of the previous season. They were dreaming of the Play-Offs after a summer spending spree and a series of signings such as Harlee Dean, Maxime Colin and obviously Jota from Brentford, Jeremie Boga on loan from Chelsea, David Stockdale from Brighton and Hove Albion, Cheikh N'Doye from Angers and Sam Gallagher from Southampton. However, all the excitement of the early season was quickly wiped out and the Blues have really struggled and are now in danger of relegation to League One.
Birmingham are onto their third manager following the sackings of Harry Redknapp and Steve Cotterill. They went for former Swansea City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk. The early games under Monk have been positive and they now look like they can stay up, whereas before under Cotterill they looked destined for the drop. One reason for their recent revival is the form of Jota, who Monk seems to have got the best out of in recent games. The Spanish winger scored twice for the Blues in their last game against Hull City in their 3-0 win at St. Andrews last weekend. This matched his tally so far for the whole season. Positivity has started to come back to Birmingham City and they may have some teams above them looking over their shoulders, especially with Jota on good form.
Jota's story so far...
The 26 year-old started his career with Celta Vigo and was a regular for their B team from the years 2010 to 2012. However, he struggled to break into their first-team in his early days and had loan spells away at Real Madrid B and Eibar. After an impressive season with Eibar in the 2013/14 season in Segunda B, where he scored 11 league goals from midfield, he was snapped up by Brentford and moved to England. The Bees paid a reported €1.5 million to lure the Spaniard to Griffin Park and he immediately impressed for them. He scored 11 goals to help Brentford get into the Play-Offs in his first season.
However, Jota's second season with Brentford was affected by an injury when he damaged ankle ligaments. He would only play 5 games for the Bees that season and was then loaned to Eibar in January 2016 on an 18-month loan deal, partly for personal reasons. He struggled to get regular first-team action for Eibar in La Liga due to underlying injury issues but made a swift return to action on his return to Brentford in January 2017. He went onto score 12 goals in 23 appearances last season under Dean Smith and firmly established himself as one of the most talented players in the Championship.
There were plenty of clubs after Jota in the summer but it was Birmingham who won the race for him. He has struggled so far for the Blues and he had only scored 2 goals prior to their game against Hull City last weekend. This is partly due to a hamstring strain that he sustained on his debut in September against Norwich City. But now he is back to full fitness and things are looking up for the Spaniard. Garry Monk will see him as a key player for the Blues and will look to get the best out of him now. He will be in confident mood after his brace against Hull and will be itching to get back at it after the international break.