Doubts over Kuszczak as Monk rebuilds from back
GOALKEEPER Tomasz Kuszczak has been told he can leave Blues, according to reports in his native Poland.
The 36-year-old was on the fringes at St Andrew’s last season, under both Steve Cotterill and current boss Garry Monk.
Kuszczak did not play a single match after Monk replaced Cotterill in March and he has been advised to look for another club.
Sources say the former Manchester United man is targeting a return to the Premier League, but is realistic about his chances.
Kuszczak made 12 appearances for Blues in all competitions last season, but he only featured in Championship matches when first-choice stopper David Stockdale was injured.
He was relegated to the bench as soon as Stockdale returned to the team in November and did not play a single match thereafter.
Kuszczak has made 92 appearances for Blues since joining from Wolves in July 2015. The Pole has another 12 months left on his contract after penning a two-year extension last summer.
He also has an option for a third season, which could keep him at Blues until June 2020.
Born in Krosno Odrzanskie, Poland, Kuszczak started his professional career with German club Hertha BSC. Gary Megson signed him for Albion in July 2014.
Capped 11 times by Poland, Kuszczak spent three seasons at The Hawthorns before signing for United.
He won three Premier League titles, two League Cups, one Champions League and a FIFA Club World Cup medal during his five-year spell at Old Trafford.
And Blues’ potential pursuit of Alex Smithies has been given a boost after it emerged QPR may be forced to sell the goalkeeper due to Financial Fair Play concerns.
Blues have been linked with the 28-year-old as they look to line up a replacement for Stockdale, who could be on the move this summer in Monk’s first transfer window as manager at St Andrew’s.
Smithies joined QPR in 2015 from Huddersfield Town and has been the club’s first-choice stopper for twoand-a-half seasons.
He kept seven clean sheets in 44 games for the Hoops last term and was voted player of the year the season before.
But the London club could find it increasingly difficult to hold on to him with the threat of FFP sanctions looming.
QPR may have to let Smithies, fans’ favourite, leave to raise funds, is understood.
A source in London said: “The club are under pressure to get in line with Financial Fair Play regulations, while also having to deal with the effects of a hefty FFP fine.
“This means the club could be in a position to offload their senior stars a it should the deal represent good value for the club. For a club such as QPR, it may be a case that money talks, and if Birmingham or anyone else can meet the matching price of the Hoops, then a deal could potentially be on the cards.”
QPR are well-stocked between the sticks, which would increase the likelihood of a successful swoop from Blues, with Matt Ingram and Joe Lumley ready to step in.
Monk has played Stockdale in each of his 11 games in charge but will look to shake up the squad having steered the club through another relegation battle.
Meanwhile, Blues are believed to have made an offer for Danish leftback Kristian Pedersen.
Monk is working on several deals as