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Friday, January 8, 2010
Birmingham admit defeat over Babel and McGeady

Soccernet staff

Alex McLeish has suspended his interest in Liverpool forward Ryan Babel and Celtic midfielder Aiden McGeady after being informed that neither player is for sale in the January transfer window.

• Michel on brink of Blues move
• On The Move: Live transfer blog

With 40 million at his disposal, McLeish is expected to be one of the busier Premier League managers now the transfer window has reopened but two of his most high-profile targets appear not to be heading to St Andrew's.

Birmingham have failed with a bid worth a reported 9 million for Babel, who has started only three Premier League games under Rafa Benitez this season and has repeatedly voiced his frustration with life at Anfield.

McLeish has also seen an approach for Celtic playmaker McGeady fail, although he is refusing to comment on speculation that an offer has been made for Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones.

"We've made enquiries about a lot of people. I don't want to confirm or deny a bid has gone in (for Kenwyne Jones)," McLeish said. "There is a lot of transfer speculation now and it is not something I like to talk about when nothing has been done. We have made enquiries for several players. I am not going to confirm or deny any names.

"But as regards Aiden McGeady, we made an enquiry but we were told he is not for sale. The situation won't change until someone says he is up for sale. Is there any movement with the Babel situation? No, we've been told he is not for sale."

Birmingham have agreed a 3 million deal to sign long-term target Michel from Sporting Gijon and the midfielder is expected to arrive in England on Friday to undergo a medical and put the finishing touches to a transfer that has been a year in the making.

McLeish said: "It's probably better I talk about Michel once he actually comes and signs for Birmingham. But he is a holding midfielder in much the same way as we play Barry Ferguson and Lee Bowyer.

"He is very comfortable on the ball, has good quality, is only 23, has got good legs and is a player for now but also the future. I said I wanted to sign players of quality during January and he fits the bill.

"It doesn't look likely things will be completed in time for him to be available against United as the registration has to go through by noon today [Friday]. But I will be delighted when it is all done and dusted as I have been keeping tabs on him for over 12 months now.''

However, McLeish is not to pursue his interest in Slovakian striker Jan Novak after the MFK Kosice striker spent last month on trial with Blues.

He said: "It was a difficult one because it was thrust upon us. Jan came in, he trained with us and he looked not too bad. But I don't know about Jan to make a commitment of 2-3 million. I feel I've got to go at the moment for players I am fully aware of.''

The club are also pondering a move for midfielder Giles Barnes who has been training with Birmingham following his release by former club Derby County earlier in the season.

"I believe other clubs are interested in having a look at him [Barnes] but we will speak to him tomorrow [Friday] and see what he wants to do," McLeish said. "He is a good player, has got a good idea about the game, a bit of vision."

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