Bentley on brink of loan move to Birmingham

 

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The Independent Online

Alex McLeish was engaging in a busy recruitment campaign on the eve of Birmingham City's first semi-final for 10 years. They travel to West Ham United tonight for the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final, but are also seeking to sign new creative and attacking players as they hope to improve in the second half of the season. David Bentley is set to join on loan from Tottenham Hotspur on the completion of a medical, while the club are also hoping to sign Rangers' Kenny Miller and Blackpool's Charlie Adam during the this month's window.

Bentley is likely to be the first arrival. The 26-year-old winger has started just two games this season for Tottenham and with the possible arrival of David Beckham at White Hart Lane he would move even further down the first-team pecking order. He was undergoing a medical at Birmingham last night but should sign imminently. "Bentley is doing a medical, it might run into two days," confirmed McLeish. "It will be good to sign him because he has got a bit of quality and class as a footballer. His delivery at set-pieces is excellent as well. He is a natural footballer."

Miller could then be Birmingham's next signing, ahead of a decision on his future this week. The Scotland international striker was absent from Rangers' squad for last night's Scottish Cup tie with Kilmarnock, as he chooses between offers from Birmingham and Fiorentina. Miller is understood to have been offered £30,000 a week in Florence but McLeish hopes that he makes a decision soon. "We have an agreement with Rangers and we are talking to Kenny." said the former Rangers manager. "He's also got an offer from Italy. I know he is talking about coming back to the Premier League or possibly going to Italy so we will probably ask Kenny for a quick decision. I think he's had the offer from Fiorentina. I don't want to talk about Kenny's business but we made an offer, Rangers accepted it and we await Kenny's answer."

Another former Rangers player, Adam, is also a target for Birmingham. McLeish knows the Blackpool captain from their time together at Ibrox, and a £2m bid for the Scottish midfielder has already been rejected.

Sebastian Larsson could well leave St Andrew's, having been given permission to speak with Newcastle . "We came to a kind of impasse [over a new contract]," admitted McLeish. "I know Seb would like to stay but we'll just have to wait and see. There is nothing I can really add to that."

Amidst the transfer activity, McLeish is focused on tonight's semi-final. "It is a big challenge. The fans are craving success. We will do our very best to put a smile on their faces."

He suggested that a cautious approach might be appropriate given the two-legged nature of the tie. "We'd love to go down there and win but we know it's over two legs. We'd like to bring a favourable result back for the second leg at St Andrew's and we will do our very best to get that result."

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