Blues chief dispels McLeish claims

02 September 2010 07:25
irmingham acting chairman Peter Pannu has dispelled concerns about a rift with Alex McLeish over the Scot's ongoing contract negotiations.[LNB] Pannu was quoted yesterday saying McLeish was asking for "a very large amount of money which I was not prepared to meet" and that he was "no Jose Mourinho".[LNB]But Pannu insisted today the comments had not been meant as a criticism and that McLeish could sign a new contract as early as next week.[LNB]He told the Birmingham Mail: "This is all nonsense. We are just perhaps inches away from Alex signing a contract, possibly by next week.[LNB]"Our relationship is phenomenal, we are very strong and close, and I want to dispel this notion that there is anything wrong.[LNB]"In fact, I spoke to Alex about the Mourinho reference and we laughed about it. In the whole context of the interview I did, it would not have had a sting to it. But to take out the extract like that made it look worse than it was.[LNB]"Mourinho came up because I mentioned that the agent who made the initial approach to me about Alex and his contract represents Mourinho.[LNB]"Nothing was meant as a slight to Alex in the context of the conversation I had."[LNB]McLeish declined to comment on the situation at a press conference yesterday following the transfer deadline day signings of Alexander Hleb, Martin Jiranek and Jean Beausejour.[LNB]The Scot, who still has a year left to run on his current deal, is being rewarded for Birmingham's first season back in the Barclays Premier League that saw them finish ninth.[LNB]And Pannu is confident the saga will soon be brought to a successful conclusion, adding: "We have agreed figures, there is only one clause still be sorted out. It is not pay related."[LNB]McLeish, meanwhile, has revealed letters from Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and his Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger helped secure Hleb a work permit.[LNB]The former Gunners winger was initially denied a permit to return to England from Barcelona because his national team, Belarus, are ranked outside the top 70 in FIFA's world rankings.[LNB]But the Blues were successful with an appeal, and McLeish said: "Both Sir Alex and Arsene Wenger gave us a headed notepaper endorsement of Hleb's quality to play in England.[LNB]"I think the panel were pretty positive about it anyway. But we had to make sure the panel were aware that Hleb was always a target and it helps when you have got two top managers endorsing a particular player."[LNB]

Source: Team_Talk