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Martin O'Neill Considering Expansion Of Options With Move For Birmingham Striker

Martin O'Neill Considering Expansion Of Options With Move For Birmingham Striker
By PJ Browne Updated

Gianfranco Zola made the first signing of his tenure as Birmingham manager this week by completing a deal to make Lukasz Jutkiewicz's loan move from Burnley a permanent one.

Jutkiewicz, who has scored six times in 17 Championship appearances this season, cost Birmingham £1 million.

His goals this season include a superb header to put Birmingham ahead against Brighton on Saturday.

The gears had been already turning on the transfer before Zola arrived with the previous manager Gary Rowett setting them in motion.

The move ends a disappointing time for Jutkiewicz at Burnley where he failed to score for the club.

Birmingham are not the only ones impressed by the English-born striker. According to today's Irish Daily Star, Martin O'Neill will check out Jutkiewiz in the New Year. Born in Southampton, the 27-year-old qualifies to play for Ireland through one of his grandparents. He is also eligible to play for Poland.

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Despite only having worked with Jutkiewicz for a short period of time, Zola spoke very positively about the player.

His attitude is fantastic and he is a quality a player, so we are pleased to have him for a long time.

It's very important to have players like him that are leaders around this club.

He's an intelligent person and he uses his intelligence in the right way and he's always a threat to the opposition.

O'Neill considering Jutkiewicz as an option has possibly been prompted by the chances of Brentford striker Scott Hogan declaring for Ireland becoming less likely. According to a report in the Sunday Times earlier this month, Hogan considers himself England and playing for them is his 'number one priority'.

Uncertainty regarding Hogan is not O'Neill's only reason for expanding his options. Ireland's paucity of strikers was made starkly clear last month when the O'Neill ended up with more goalkeepers than forwards in his provisional squad for the qualifier against Poland.

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