McLeish keen to complete summer spending

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish admitted he was anxious to complete his summer transfer business as soon as possible to avoid a deadline-day scramble to strengthen his squad.

City have already signed goalkeeper Ben Foster and Serbia striker Nikola Vidic, as well as agreeing new contracts with a number of existing first-team players but McLeish is keen to add to a group that took Blues to ninth place last season on their return to the Premier League.

The Scot is looking specifically at acquiring at least another striker and a left-back.

Birmingham have been linked with a number of forwards as well as reportedly having a £1.25m bid turned down by Crystal Palace for defender Nathaniel Clyne.

And McLeish, currently in Hong Kong for Birmingham’s three-match tour of the region and China, revealed he has discussed potential targets with president Carson Yeung and was eager to move quickly.

“We’ve had a chat me and Carson last night, things are moving forward, we’re trying to bring new players for the new season,” he said.

“The market has slowed up a little bit and I don’t see any other clubs doing too much business either, I think people are waiting, being patient.

“As long as I don’t go into August scrambling for players then we should be okay. Carson has pledged his support in terms of bringing other players, so no problem.”

McLeish also hinted he may be forced to sign players he has been tracking abroad while the team is in Asia due to the nature of foreign transfer markets.

“You never know because there are one or two not in England where the market closes now,” he added.

“Although we can take players from that market, they (the selling club) can’t replace that player because their market is closed so there are one or two situations where we should move fast if it’s someone I’m 100% sure of.

“But in some of the positions I’m looking at, we have a number of options and I don’t want to rush in.”

Birmingham play the first of three pre-season games tomorrow against a Hong Kong League XI at Hong Kong Stadium with McLeish again playing down their prospects for the coming campaign.

“Pre-season has gone very well, touch wood. We’ve eased the players into it, they’ve come back in good condition, I’m pleased with the way the lads have looked after themselves in the summer and we look forward to another season,” he said.

“We’re not going to shout from the rooftops. you’ve got to establish yourself, we’re a developing squad and it takes time.

“We had a great season last year, we certainly punched above our weight and there’ll be a lot of teams that finished below us where their chairmen will be kicking their managers’ backsides and saying why were Birmingham above us.

“So we’ll try and do our best to emulate that but if we’re in the Premier League this time next season, it’ll be another massive stepping stone in terms of the solidity of the club.”

Defender Liam Ridgewell echoed McLeish’s assessment, adding: “Obviously we had a good season last year but to stay in the Premier League will be our main aim.

“To stay up by goal difference, to stay up by one point, will be enough for us. It’s such a big league, our main aim is to stay in the league and do as well as we can.”

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