The Football League Paper - - PROFILE -

THE re­turn of Nikola Zigic to Birm­ing­ham City must surely prompt mixed feel­ing from the St An­drews faith­ful.

On the one hand, this is a bloke whose £60,000-a-week wages crip­pled the club for the best part of three years. Zigic can­not be blamed for ac­cept­ing that kind of bo­nanza, nor for stay­ing put – but it would be hard for any­one to ar­gue his ef­fort or out­put jus­ti­fied his salary.

Back in 2013, Lee Clark even dropped him from the squad, ac­cus­ing him of putting in the “worst train­ing ses­sion I have ever come across”. Then again, this is a bloke who, on his day, is com­pletely un­playable; a 6ft 8ins mon­ster who scores big goals in big games and was in­stru­men­tal in the Blues’ fi­nal-day es­cape last sea­son.

Un­bur­dened of his gi­gan­tic salary (re­ports sug­gest he is now on £5,000-a-week) and the scru­tiny it brought, maybe we will at last see the Ser­bian play with a free­dom he was never af­forded be­fore.

It will take a bit more pro­tec­tion from ref­er­ees – Zigic can barely move with­out somebody grab­bing a hand­ful of shirt – and a bit more ag­gres­sion from the man him­self, but he is un­doubt­edly a threat.

For the 34-year-old for­mer Red Star Bel­grade, Rac­ing San­tander and Va­len­cia striker, it is a chance to start re­pay­ing a mon­strous debt and be re­mem­bered not for his wages but for his tal­ent.

BIG EARNER: Nikola Zigic

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