Birmingham rocked as Savage asks for transfer

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The Independent Online

Robbie Savage's determination to leave Birmingham City manifested itself in the form of a written transfer request yesterday. The Welsh midfielder, a transfer-window target for Blackburn Rovers, is desperate to move clubs so he can be nearer to his Wrexham-based parents, who are suffering from ill-health.

Robbie Savage's determination to leave Birmingham City manifested itself in the form of a written transfer request yesterday. The Welsh midfielder, a transfer-window target for Blackburn Rovers, is desperate to move clubs so he can be nearer to his Wrexham-based parents, who are suffering from ill-health.

The Birmingham manager, Steve Bruce, has rejected an initial £2m bid from Blackburn, with the payments spread over three years, for the 30-year-old player. Bruce has also made it clear he does not want Savage, a key player in Birmingham's recent revival, to leave St Andrew's.

Blackburn are expected to make a further £2.7m bid for Savage in the next few days including a £1m down payment.

Savage is anxious to live closer to his mother and father, and is hoping to bring matters to a head by asking for a move. He handed in the request to Bruce at Birmingham's Wast Hills training complex yesterday morning as the squad prepared for tonight's Premiership home game against Bolton Wanderers.

Savage is due to have a meeting with Blues co-owner David Sullivan tomorrow to discuss his future, but has decided to ask to go on the transfer list before those talks.

Bruce, chairman David Gold and Sullivan were unavailable for comment yesterday and it is unclear whether they will agree to Savage's request. Bruce has described Savage as the "heartbeat" of the side since he moved from Leicester City in the summer of 2002 after Birmingham had gained promotion to the Premiership.

The player has been back to his best in recent weeks after a dip in form, despite being at a low ebb because of concern for his parents.

He is angry at recent reports that it is easier for him to commute to north Wales from Birmingham rather than if he was a Blackburn player. It takes Savage more than two hours to reach Wrexham from his Stratford home and the journey time would be halved if a move to Blackburn went through.

Savage admits he would have a heavy heart about leaving Birmingham, where he is a popular figure with the majority of supporters, but feels his family have to come first.

Bruce has made it clear that he is reluctant to keep hold of any unhappy player and last month allowed Jesper Gronkjaer to leave for Spain after he failed to settle following his summer move from Chelsea.

The Czech midfielder Jiri Jarosik is due to hold talks with Chelsea about a possible move to the Premiership. The 26-year-old is set to meet their manager Jose Mourinho regarding the possibility of a switch from Chelsea's Champions' League group rivals CSKA Moscow.

Southampton, who have sold James Beattie to Everton for £6m, have taken Calum Davenport on loan from Tottenham until the end of the season. The 22-year-old becomes Harry Redknapp's first signing at Saints.

Davenport, an England Under-21 international who signed for Spurs in the summer, was loaned out to West Ham.

"This will be a huge challenge for me and the chance to have a run of games in the Premiership," said Davenport, who is expected to make his debut at home against Fulham tomorrow.

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