The Manchester United midfielder Nicky Butt has met with Steve Bruce about joining Birmingham City in a £5m deal.
The England international and his former team-mate had a lengthy discussion about the move, and Butt has asked for time to make his decision. Birmingham hope to hear over the weekend whether the move is on.
It has been a difficult time for Butt, made captain by Sir Alex Ferguson last weekend but keen for first-team football in the build-up to the Euro 2004 finals. Bruce is clear favourite to sign him despite noises about possible moves by both Everton and Middlesbrough.
Butt has been impressed by Bruce's ambition and the fact that he is the only current bidder at the right price, which is why United let them talk about the switch. Birmingham are also talking terms with Butt's advisers.
Bruce needs a decision soon as he has funds to invest and other players on his wanted list, although not another midfielder.
The Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren has all but admitted defeat in his bid to sign Butt, saying: "He's a player I've always admired, there's no two ways about that, but we've made inquiries along those lines and I think the latest I have is that Nicky Butt is staying at Manchester United and that's the end of that."
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