Sheffield Wednesday: Who is reported January transfer target Bez Lubala?
Garry Monk is planning a January swoop for Crawley Town forward Bez Lubala as he attempts to inject a little firepower into the Owls’ promotion push, according to reports.
The 21-year-old is a relative unknown, having only made a handful appearances for Birmingham City before the start of this season, but what do we know about the Wednesday target?
What’s his story?
Beryly Logos Lubala, better known as ‘Bez’, is a 21-year-old Congo-born forward raised in Leicester. He was signed by Birmingham City as a 16-year-old having impressed in a trial game and spent five years there, making his debut under a certain Garry Monk in a 3-1 defeat to Bristol City in April last year.
He was offered a new contract by Birmingham in the summer but left in search of first team opportunities League Two Crawley Town, teaming up with former City coach Gabriele Cioffi.
What sort of player is he?
Having spent most of his young career playing as a striker, Lubala has been a revelation cutting in from the left for Crawley this season.
Diminutive in stature at only five-foot-eight, the youngster is a strong, direct dribbler of the ball who has a rasping shot on him. He is also a noted set-piece taker.
What’s his record?
There’s quite a fuss being made about Lubala considering he has only 20 senior appearances under his belt. But an impact he has made, certainly at Crawley, and the interest of first Cioffi and now Monk suggests he was highly thought of at his former club.
He started this season with a bang, scoring six goals in his first eight league starts and a spell of seven games without a goal was ended on Saturday when he scored in a 2-1 defeat at Cambridge. The match was a carbon copy of Wednesday’s defeat at Blackburn – Lubala’s goal came in the 80th minute before two late goals for the home side.
The forward’s disciplinary record may be a slight cause for concern – he missed their 4-0 humbling against Swindon last week having collected five yellow cards.
Who else is interested?
Middlesbrough, Wigan Athletic and Peterborough United have watched him in recent weeks, as have Premier League scouts, according to a report in the national media.
It is believed that Monk is leading the chase courtesy of their existing relationship, however, as well of that with Cioffi, who will be reluctant to sell with his side sat 17th in the table.
It is not known what fee Crawley would command for Lubala, who is understood to be under contract at The People's Pension Stadium until 2021, with a further one-year option.