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Prandelli appointed new Valencia manager

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Conte delighted with Chelsea defence

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Blues 'must pay Zigic £4m next year'

Cash-strapped Birmingham City, who are having to sell their prized assets, will be forced to pay striker Nikola Zigic almost £4 million next year, a source has told ESPN.

Zigic, 32, has a back-loaded contract with the Championship club that contains an automatic pay rise every season. The source said his wages would go up to £75,000 a week for the final year of his deal.

Birmingham have accepted that they cannot sell Zigic, a £6 million signing from Valencia in 2010, because no one else would be willing to pay his salary. The Serbia international has always insisted he is happy to stay in the Midlands.

But the 2011 League Cup winners, who were relegated from the Premier League that season, have been forced to let some of their key players go for less than the amount remaining on Zigic's contract in order to raise funds.

Defender Curtis Davies was sold to Hull for £2.25 million this week, and Blues have accepted offers of £3 million for England Under-21 winger Nathan Redmond - once tipped to be a £10 million player - from both Swansea and Norwich.

England goalkeeper Jack Butland was sold to Stoke in January for £3.3 million and then loaned back to Birmingham for the remainder of last season.

Birmingham, whose owner Carson Yeung is on trial in Hong Kong on charges of money-laundering, do not have a transfer budget to bring in replacements.

Zigic scored in the 2011 League Cup final win over Arsenal, but has contributed a total of just 29 goals in 113 games.

Birmingham had hoped to sell him to Villarreal in January, and in February manager Lee Clark criticised him publicly for producing "possibly the worst training session in terms of a professional footballer I have ever come across".

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