blues boss aiming high

McLeish abandons hopes of signing Dzeko & Grafite

October 22, 2009
By Soccernet Staff

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has abandoned hopes of signing Wolfsburg's prolific strike duo of Edin Dzeko and Grafite.

Dzeko
GettyImages / NigelFrenchDzeko in regular pose last season.

McLeish has been told by new City owner Carson Yeung he has up to £40 million to spend during the January transfer window.

But the Scot believes the entire amount would have to be spent on securing Bosnian star Dzeko, 23, if he could be tempted to move to St Andrews.

And the former Scotland boss admitted problems with obtaining a work permit has led to him cooling his interest in Brazilian ace Grafite, who combined with his strike partner to score 54 goals last season.

McLeish said: "I think Grafite would be difficult in terms of getting a work permit and he is 30 years of age. Are we going to spend £10-15 million on a 30-year-old? I don't think so. Dzeko would be a fortune. It would probably take up the £40 million. He has had a fantastic couple of seasons and is probably just out of our league at the moment.

"(Birmingham chief scout) Paul Montgomery did speak with his representatives. He has got a lot of fantastic contacts in Europe and he gets into these inner sanctums to get within touching distance of these players. But bringing them is a another matter. We are looking at the European market between now and January. We are looking at every league.''

McLeish has received a double injury boost with defenders Stuart Parnaby and Franck Queudrue available after injury for Saturday's home clash with Sunderland. The duo have both been sidelined in recent weeks with hamstring problems.

McLeish confirmed: "Franck Queudrue is available again - as is Stuart Parnaby - so we've got a couple of full-backs, although I see Franck's role this season more at centre-half. But we have been very short of full-backs this season and it is nice to see a couple of faces back.''

Another defender in Gregory Vignal is set to resume training next week, also after a hamstring injury. On-loan Sunderland midfielder Teemu Tainio is not eligible to face Steve Bruce's side.