Bruce attempts to offload £2.5m Argentinian misfit

Alan Nixon
Wednesday 20 August 2003 00:00

Birmingham City are trying to sell the Argentinian striker Luciano Figueroa before he has kicked a ball in anger for them since his £2.5m transfer.

The manager, Steve Bruce, has decided he does not want the South American, who was signed for him on the recommendation of his board. Now Figueroa, who was plucked from Rosario Central, has been secretly offered to Wolves.

The line, spun by the agents involved, is that there has been a row between Bruce and Figueroa, but Birmingham insiders say this is nonsense.

However, Bruce did not know much about Figueroa and was shocked when the striker arrived ... and was around three inches shorter than he was led to believe.

The move, masterminded by part-owner David Sullivan, went disastrously wrong as Figueroa looked lightweight in training. Even with Birmingham short of fit strikers Figueroa was left out of the squad for the first game.

Birmingham may yet get an unlikely escape from their ordeal. The Spanish side Osasuna claim they signed Figueroa first and are taking the case to Fifa. The game's world governing body is expected to decide today whether the Spanish club have any claim on the striker. It has emerged that the player's lawyer signed some sort of agreement with the Primera Liga club before he eventually joined Birmingham.

The Midlands club remain confident that Osasuna have no legal claim on the player and insist they acted "professionally and properly" throughout the transfer.

Osasuna claim that Birmingham offered to sell the player to them if they could match the price paid to the Argentinian club rather than become involved in a battle with Fifa.

Meanwhile, the Senegal international Ferdinand Coly has left Birmingham by mutual consent.

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