Birmingham Mail : 2020-09-25

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47 www.birmingham­live.co.uk BIRMINGHAM MAIL FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 NOW WE’RE TOGETHER 14 YEARS LATER! – KARANKA Mikel San Jose is the profile of player the Blues boss loves to work with with four defenders, he can player defender in a line with three defenders, as a defensive midfielder playing with three in the middle of the pitch, he can play with another midfielder just with two in the middle. He can bring us a lot of alternativ­es, which is good.” However, Karanka won’t rush San Jose into the team. “I need to check him better but the main thing is we are not going to need him right now because the team is playing well,’’ he said. “We have one week after this game, then another two weeks to work. So he is going to have at least three weeks, almost a pre-season, working with us. That’s going to be perfect for everybody. “If I can use him on Saturday I will use him for sure and if he is fit for the following Saturday, and I think it is going to be good for the team, I will use him. If I don’t see that he is 100 per cent fit we will wait. In this team there is no one player we can’t miss.” who has once again done a brilliant job, and the day he told me Mikel was here was a really good surprise.” San Jose had options to remain in Spain or go to another country and had other, more lucrative offers – but the fact he wanted to come to Birmingham pleased Karanka. “He is the profile of player I love because the first thing he wanted is the project and he knew we have a nice project here,’’ said the head coach. “He forgot about staying in his comfort zone or going to those countries with a very good contract, he wanted to come here, join us and this is the profile I want. “He is a very good player who is going to bring us experience, a very good person, a player who can play in different positions, which is good for us, because I have a shape but I like to change something about that shape and he can fit in every single shape. “He can play central defender internatio­nal break to ease him into the team. He also gave an insight into how the move came about after San Jose was released by Bilbao. Karanka was called by San Jose’s agent, a relative of the midfielder, and his interest was piqued straight away. The pair were passing ships, for a matter of days, at Bilbao in 2006. Karanka was coming to the end of his time with the Basque outfit when a youthful San Jose turned up on trial. Within days of the youngster arriving, Karanka moved on to Colorado Rapids. “Now we are together 14 years later,” Karanka said. With other offers on the table, he knew Blues would face an outside chance of By BRIAN DICK With Blues brian.dick@reachplc.com AITOR Karanka has lifted the lid on Birmingham City’s successful pursuit of Athletic Bilbao favourite Mikel San Jose. Blues made waves this week when they lured a top-class midfielder, who has played football at domestic, European and internatio­nal level, to the Championsh­ip. The veteran has signed a two-year contract and, fitness depending, could come into the squad to face Rotherham at St Andrew’s tomorrow. Blues’ head coach Karanka insists he won’t rush the 31-year-old and could even give him until after the He forgot about his comfort zone or going to those countries with a very good contract, he wanted to come here, join us. Aitor Karanka Aitor Karanka won’t rush San Jose striking a deal. “At the beginning I thought ‘okay, we will try it, I will be more than happy but our situation is this – we are a Championsh­ip team’,’’ said Karanka. “I passed the contact to (Blues’ chief executive) Dong, PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­r.com +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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