Often Partisan

Hovis

The end of the transfer window is nigh, and in just over 17 hours as I write this, we will know the squad Birmingham City have to survive the next four months with.

Two days ago, when the Charles N’Zogbia transfer collapsed in a mercenary heap after the young Frenchmen tried to demand an extra half million a year (and if you believe the Mirror, had a go about the Blues on t’internet), it looked like it was going to be a poor end to a window that had started so brightly. Still short of pace, still short at the back and suffering after deals continuously seemed to go pear-shaped over one reason or another.

Of course, come six pm this evening it could still be the case that we are desperately short of bodies, but it won’t be for the lack of trying. The last few hours have been manic, and currently it would appear that there are no less than four deals on the table. What’s especially pleasing, is in a world where Sky Sports News dominates, smallheathalliance.com broke the news of two of them long before anyone else in this country picked up on them.

Jiranek looks a done deal from Spartak Moscow. Apparently he flew in today for talks, and even Spartak seem to be saying he’s coming to us – apparently in a deal worth 400k. For a player that is an international captain, a captain of a club that has been playing champions league football, it would seem to be a good deal. We’re desperately short at centre back, and this is welcome cover. The one drawback does seem to be however is will we disrupt what many pundits are fawning over as one of the best centre back pairings in the prem in Johnson and Dann; or will he be happy to wait his chance?

Football fans in this country don’t need much introduction to Alyaksandr Hleb. The Belarusian spent three seasons at Arsenal, where he made eighty nine league appearances, scoring seven goals. I always thought Hleb was a decent player, and the thought of him playing for us makes me just a little bit excited. The Mail and the News of the World now seem to be sure we’ve beaten Benfica to the punch, and that we’re bringing him to St Andrews. IF it comes off, it’ll be the signing of the window for us I reckon. As a trivia note, in Russian “Hleb” means bread, so if he does sign I’m nicknaming him Hovis.

Armand Traore still plays for Arsenal, although he too has been heavily linked with Benfica, and now Juventus. Whilst I have nothing but admiration for Ridgewell playing at left back for us, the fact is he’s still a centre back filling in and we need someone who plays the position properly. I’d love Traore to come to us, but I don’t see Arsene Wenger lending him or anyone else to us, post Eduardo-gate.

The final player linked to us today is Jean André Emanuel Beausejour Coliqueo, of Club America and Chile. Jean Beausejour, as he’s more commonly known, played for Chile on the wing during the World Cup and obviously must have played well as I can actually recall him playing during the tournament. I don’t think this one is that likely; whilst I think another winger would be ace, and that he’d get a work permit, it’d be a tight squeeze to fit it all in tomorrow.

So there we go. Four potential signings equal an exciting day, but I won’t believe any have signed for us until I see them holding a scarf on the Kop (cynic that I am). Stupidly, I’ve made plans to go out for the day so I won’t be avidly watching sky sports – I’ll be walking around looking at my mobile constantly for updates from Twitter. Here’s hoping we’re sat here at the same time tomorrow, feeling happy with business that has been done.

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