Birmingham City manager John Eustace is certain he wants Arsenal defender Auston Trusty to sign a permanent deal in the summer having impressed on loan this campaign. One of just three outfield Championship players to have played every single minute this season, the American has been ever-present for Birmingham in what has been an odds-defying term.
Although they have struggled with inconsistency, especially after the World Cup break, Blues remain comfortable in avoiding relegation to League One even though they were one of the teams tipped for the drop. Due to ongoing uncertainty around the future of the football club, Eustace has had to work with severely limited resources, meaning loan players have been heavily relied on.
The likes of former Gunners ace Krystian Bielik (Derby), Dion Sanderson (Wolves), Hannibal Mejbri and Tahith Chong (both Manchester United) have made a great impact as Birmingham have collected 38 points from 31 games. Hannibal may have stolen the headlines recently for his superb free-kick goal against West Bromwich Albion, but Trusty has arguably left the biggest mark of all – and he has a top attitude.
“I’ve spoken about Auston and I’d love to keep him at the football club,” Eustace told the media at Wast Hills Training Ground last week. “He’s a terrific player and I think we have to remember he’s come on the back of a full MLS season [with Colorado Rapids], so he’s on for 50-60 games in a row now. Would I have liked to have rested Auston this season? Absolutely. But we’ve not been able to do that.
“He’s dipped because of a lack of support [in squad depth] but he’s coming back strong, with some excellent performances. I’d love to keep him and I think everyone connected with Birmingham City would love him to be part of the football club, but we respect he’s an Arsenal player. Hopefully, it’s something we can push at the end of the season,” Eustace continued.
Having laughed off the possibility of signing Hannibal from Man Utd, saying it would cost Blues at least £20 million, Eustace not reacting in a similar way to questions about Trusty is perhaps promising for Birmingham supporters. It remains to be seen what Arsenal’s stance is on the player leaving the Emirates Stadium for St Andrew’s on a permanent basis, but Trusty would likely be surplus to requirements.
His tremendous season may change things somewhat, but the 24-year-old is yet to make a single senior appearance for the Gunners, despite signing for the club in January of last year. Two back-to-back loans have certainly developed his attributes to a higher level, but Trusty, who has scored four Championship goals, would face elite competition for a spot in Arsenal’s starting 11. With the defender only improving his relationship with Birmingham fans further as matches go on, this could be one to watch.