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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
McLeish admits defeat in Stendardo loan bid

Birmingham have admitted defeat in their bid to sign Lazio defender Guglielmo Stendardo on loan.

Blues boss Alex McLeish homed in on the towering Italian centre-back after being knocked back in his attempts to land Aston Villa's Gary Cahill last week.

There is currently a lack of defensive cover at St Andrews with Radhi Jaidi away on African Nations Cup duty and Johan Djourou back at Arsenal following a loan stint.

Stendardo, who has made 13 Serie A appearances and seven in the Champions League this season, fell out with Lazio manager Delio Rossi and demanded a transfer during the current window.

But McLeish told the Birmingham Mail: 'The Stendardo guy, who we were looking at bringing on loan, won't be happening.

'Lazio have got a bit of an injury crisis right now. He won't be going anywhere.

'The reason we were considering him on loan and not making a commitment to his club was that we didn't know enough about him.

'I did the diligence on him, I spoke to contacts in Italy, and I felt it was right we should try to get him on loan first.

'While I have got a centre-back problem, I have got to commend Liam Ridgewell and Rafael Schmitz - they've done very well together.

'While they are two left-footers - and yet nobody has got any problem playing two right-footers - they have combined. They have been very, very good but I do have a problem if one of them goes down.'

Birmingham have already signed James McFadden and David Murphy on permanent deals during the transfer window and taken Argentinian striker Mauro Zarate on loan.

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