The move of a £12 million Premier League player has boosted Rotherham United’s bid to add Birmingham City midfielder Andrew Shinnie to their ranks.
Championship pace-setters Middlesbrough have signed Southampton playmaker Gaston Ramirez until the end of the season to potentially set in motion a chain of events which could end in Shinnie wearing a Millers shirt.
The Teessiders are likely to allow loan ace Diego Fabbrini to return to parent club Watford, paving the way for a £1 million switch to the Blues, with Shinnie then joining Rotherham for the rest of their second-tier campaign.
There are no guarantees it will happen, but manager Neil Redfearn has confirmed he wants the 26-year-old and had hoped to have him in his squad for last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Cardiff City.
“He’s someone we fancy,” he said. “He’s an attacking midfielder with flair and an eye for goals.”
Uruguayan Ramirez joined the Saints for £12m in 2012 from Italian side Bolgona.
Rotherham are looking to make a second signing, in addition to Shinnie, before the January transfer window closes next Monday.
“There’s maybe one other,” Redfearn confirmed. “Hopefully we can get it done.”
Shinnie, who wasn’t in the Birmingham squad which beat Ipswich Town 3-0 last weekend, has made 17 appearances this season, mostly from the bench.
He joined the Blues in 2013 from Inverness Caledonian Thistle, for whom he scored 19 goals in 52 league starts, and caught the eye when Gary Rowett’s side beat Rotherham 1-0 at AESSEAL New York Stadium in November 2014, hitting the woodwork with a first-half shot.
Meanwhile, Redfearn has revealed how highly he rates Grant Ward who he thought was his team’s best performer against the Bluebirds.
“He’s one of these who deals with the ball in tight situations,” the Millers manager said. “He’s got a turn of pace to get away from people, as all top-class players have. I think he’s growing into this level of football, which is a tough level for young players. He’s developing unbelievably.
The midfielder’s loan deal expires after this Saturday’s home clash with Charlton Athletic and Rotherham are believed to have an agreement with the North London club for the 21-year-old to remain in South Yorkshire, although nothing has yet been signed.
“You’ve got to remember this lad’s tender age,” Redfearn added. “He’s come on in leaps and bounds.”
The Millers, just above the drop zone, entertain the second-bottom Addicks this weekend and hope their swift action in substituting Aimen Belaid in the second half at Cardiff will mean the centre-half is available.
“He just had a bit of tightness in his groin so hopefully we’ve got him off in time before it did any real damage,” Redfearn said.
City full-back Lee Peltier was sent off for a late lunge on Jonson Clarke-Harris and Redfearn has described the challenge as the type that can end careers.
“It was a reckless tackle. For me, there’s no place in football for that,” the Millers manager said. “He’s lucky Jonson is a big, stong boy. For a slighter lad, that could have been a leg-breaking tackle.
“I know Lee Peltier really well and he’s a good lad. Maybe we can give him the benefit of the doubt and it was just mistimed. But those tackles can be career-threatening.”
Aston Villa have confirmed the appointment as first-team coach of Eric Black who left his post as Millers assistant manager on Monday.