Birmingham close in on Craig Gardner
Aston Villa have agreed a £3.5 million fee with their neighbours for the midfielder, who has already passed his medical. All that remains is for Gardner and Birmingham to agree personal terms. The 23 year-old, accompanied by his agent, was in talks with club officials this morning, and Alex McLeish, the Birmingham manager, confirmed that all concerned are optimistic that the deal will be completed before close of play. Birmingham City sign £8m Christian BenitezManchester City will not give up on Roque Santa Cruz"We are very hopeful it will be tied up today,' he said. 'We are confident he will be a Birmingham player by the end of today. He will be a quality signing." It should not be the last addition to the squad. McLeish is looking to sign a new striker this week. He will not be rushed, however, into making any rash signings. 'I think it is important [to perform due diligence] because you can buy a South American and you might not know exactly what you are getting,' said McLeish. 'We've been recommended hundreds, there's a scatter-gun effect with the names I've had. 'There's been emails, phonecalls - it really is an absolute frenzy, ridiculous, I've got to say. It's partly because people are aware we have a few bob and maybe a lack of deals because they're all trying to make a few quid. 'Six guys have given me a single player for instance. They said, 'I've got an exclusive mandate', so there's exclusive mandates being handed out everywhere and I don't want to bring in a player who I don't know, who I've not heard of. 'I would think that Messi would be all right, somebody like that, household names yes. But I don't want to bring in a foreign player I don't know."
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