Dzeko proves too costly for McLeish

Birmingham manager unwilling to blow whole budget on Bosnian
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The Independent Online

The Birmingham manager, Alex McLeish, has abandoned hopes of signing Wolfsburg's prolific strike duo of Edin Dzeko and Grafite. McLeish has been told by new City owner Carson Yeung he has up to £40m to spend during the January transfer window. But the Scot believes the entire amount would have to be spent on securing Bosnian player, Dzeko, 23, if he could be tempted to move to St Andrews.

The former Scotland manager admitted problems with obtaining a work permit has led to him cooling his interest in the Brazilian Grafite, who combined with his strike partner to score 54 goals last season.

McLeish said: "I think Grafite would be difficult in terms of getting a work permit and he is 30 years of age. Are we going to spend £10m-15m on a 30-year-old? I don't think so. Dzeko would be a fortune. It would probably take up the £40m. He has had a fantastic couple of seasons and is probably just out of our league at the moment.

"[Birmingham chief scout] Paul Montgomery did speak with his representatives. He has got a lot of fantastic contacts in Europe and he gets into these inner sanctums to get within touching distance of these players. But bringing them is a another matter. We are looking at the European market between now and January. We are looking at every league."

McLeish has received a boost with defenders Stuart Parnaby and Franck Queudrue available for tomorrow's home game with Sunderland. The pair had been out in recent weeks with hamstring problems. McLeish said: "Franck Queudrue is available again, as is Stuart Parnaby, so we've got a couple of full-backs, although I see Franck's role this season more at centre-half. But we have been very short of full-backs this season and it is nice to see a couple of faces back."

The Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce, is confident new signing Bolo Zenden can still make a major impact in the Premier League. The 33-year-old former Netherlands international made his debut for the club as a substitute in last Saturday's 1-0 victory over Liverpool, a day after signing a contract until the end of the season.

The Dutchman was used during the early part of his career as a left winger, but Bruce sees him as a central midfielder. He said: "He can play in both [positions], but he has still got fantastic energy for someone of his age. He is technically very, very good; you don't play for Barcelona and Liverpool and Marseilles and Chelsea and all of those teams if you haven't got really good ability. That was never in question. He will give us that little bit of experience and also around the dressing room with the younger lads too, he is everything I hoped he would be."

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