Midlands derby beckons for McLeish and McCarthy

LONDON: Alex McLeish will re-double his efforts to sign Kris Boyd and Roman Pavlyuchenko when the summer transfer window opens in August, after drawing a blank last month in his efforts to spend a large slice of owner Carson Yeung’s £20mil transfer pledge.

Birmingham had a £10mil offer from Spurs rejected for the Russian international during the January window and were also re-buffed in their attempts to lure Scottish international Boyd away from Glasgow Rangers – despite the fact the 26-year-old is out of contract in June.

McLeish was hoping that he would have had one of his two chief targets available for debut in the Midlands derby against Wolverhampton today, but now the Scot is preparing another concerted bid in the summer to head off competition from Russian club Spartak Moscow.

Peter Pannu, Blues’ acting chairman and vice-chairman executive and finance, accused Spurs of moving the goal posts by hoisting the price up to £15mil after they had put in writing an offer they were originally told was fine.

“We went for Pavlyuchenko, as most people know, and his wages weren’t outrageous. He’s a top player and he would have enhanced the squad. He would have come in and really upped the ante in terms of the competition, but it was not to be. It is something that we will revisit in the summer,” said McLeish.

Like their neighbours, Wolves also suffered transfer window frustration. Mick McCarthy made overtures to Robbie Keane to try to persuade his former Republic of Ireland striker to return to his former club, but Keane opted for a move to Celtic and Wolves also had a bid for Hull’s Stephen Hunt rejected by their Premier League relegation rivals.

McCarthy’s mood has not been helped by the shocking midweek FA Cup defeat by Crystal Palace and to ease the sense of disappointment,

McCarthy wants three points against their close rivals to help his 51st birthday celebrations go with a bang, saying: “We are desperate for three points and, if we go to Birmingham and play as we did against Liverpool and Hull, we can win. At least not be beaten.” — AFP

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