Blues preparing to take a gamble on Fulham’s injury-hit Alfie Mawson

Fulham defender close to St Andrew’s switch after injury-hit 18 months

Birmingham City boss Lee Bowyer has stepped up his interest in Fulham centre-back Alfie Mawson.

Talks are now firmly under way between the two clubs – who meet at Craven Cottage tomorrow evening – although Mawson will not be involved having fallen down the pecking order in West London.

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Bristol City have completed the signing of Fulham defender Alfie Mawson on a season-long loan. The 26-year-old has previously starred for the likes of Barnsley and Swansea City. (BBC Football)

Mawson, who turns 28 on Wednesday, has made six appearances for Fulham this season, but just one start, as Tim Ream and Tosin Adarabioyo have established themselves as Marco Silva’s preferred central defensive partnership.

With just six months remaining on his contract, Mawson is clearly surplus to requirements at Fulham and Bowyer appears to have decided the commanding 6ft 2in man is worth a gamble on a free transfer and with a sensible salary.

With former captain Harlee Dean having been told he can leave St Andrew’s and fellow defender Kristian Pedersen out of contract in the summer and seemingly unlikely to sign a new deal, Bowyer needs reinforcements at the back.

Bowyer is sticking firmly by picking three centre-backs – one of which is currently Pedersen – leaving just veteran George Friend, Manchester United loanee Teden Mengi and Marc Roberts as his other options in the middle of the rearguard.

Mawson’s pedigree is not in question, having impressed in his 65 appearances in the Premier League for Swansea City between 2016-18.

Despite the Swans’ relegation from the top flight, Mawson’s strong displays convinced Premier League new-boys Fulham to pay £20m for him on  a four-year contract, but he spent most of last season on loan in the Championship with Bristol City, for whom he played just 11 times as injuries to both knees ruined his campaign.

With Bowyer seemingly operating under a one in, one out policy, he will need players ready to come in and make an instant impact.

Mawson -  capped six times by England under 21s – clearly has the ability as was also evidenced in Barnsley’s League One play-off and Football League Trophy-winning double season in 2016.

If Blues can strike a deal and Mawson can put his injury woe behind him, then a move to St Andrew’s will see the club have a whole-hearted player in the mould of former captain Michael Morrison on their hands.

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