BIRMINGHAM: Birmingham have conceded they have no chance of signing want-away Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt before the winter transfer window closes.
Butt, who has been at Old Trafford for a decade – coming up through the United ranks along with the likes of David Beckham and Paul Scholes – submitted a transfer request last week due to his lack of regular first team football.
Birmingham had looked poised to snap up the England midfielder ahead of Saturday's deadline after agreeing a fee with United.
However, Birmingham co-owner David Sullivan, citing Butt's reticence over the move, admits their chances of signing Butt in the short term are “a non-runner”.
“I would say we are not close at all to a deal for Nicky Butt,” he admitted.
“We agreed a fee with Manchester United and we thought we were very close to the wages the player wanted, but it is a big decision for him and he wants to stick it out at United until the summer before deciding what he wants to do.
“From his point of view, to have been at a club for his whole career and then rush a move through in a few days is very dramatic, and he wants more time to think about it.
“I hope he will become a Birmingham City player eventually but it is a non-runner at the moment. It has broken down – we did agree a fee but it was the player's decision, which we respect him for.”
Butt's request – prompted by concerns about making England's Euro 2004 squad – was accepted by Sir Alex Ferguson but it now appears unlikely that it will go through before the summer.
Sullivan does not believe the terms being offered by City had a part to play in the breakdown of the move, adding: “We were very close to matching the wages he is on at Manchester United and we were offering him a longer contract. I don't think that was the stumbling block.” – AFP