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By ESPN Staff
Jan 25, 2007

Birmingham determined to hold onto Upson

David Gold insists Birmingham will continue fighting off attempts to prise Matthew Upson away from St Andrews during the January transfer window.

West Ham are understood to be lining up a third bid for the defender, who has 18 months left of his current contact, after having previous offers of £4million and £6m rejected by Blues manager Steve Bruce and his board of directors.

But chairman Gold is adamant City will 'do anything we can' to retain the services of Upson - described as 'priceless' by Bruce - until at least the end of the season.

He said: 'Every night, I go to bed and think `that's another day of the transfer window gone by', which means we are getting that much nearer to the point where we don't have to let Matthew Upson go.

'We are fighting clubs off as regards to Matthew Upson and we will continue to do so for as long as we can.

'You look at the top five or six clubs and think if one of those is desperate for a centre-half then we might struggle to keep him. If they don't need one, then it will help our cause.

'You never know, but we will do anything we can to keep him. We are not under pressure to sell Matthew Upson. We want him to help us get back into the Premier League.

'Right now, I would take keeping him to the end of the season but, if we got into the Premiership, it would be great to persuade Matthew that this club is the one to be with.'

Bruce believes selling Upson in January would send out 'negative vibes' to his players and supporters and has calculated that the value of the player will not drop significantly between now and the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Bruce is close to signing Arsenal midfielder Sebastian Larsson on a permanent. Bruce is confident of tying up an initial £500,000 deal for the on-loan Larsson which could eventually rise to £1m.

Larsson has impressed since joining Nicklas Bendtner and Fabrice Muamba on loan from Arsenal for the whole of the current campaign.

Bruce said: 'We hope we can get the deal done for Larsson within the next day or two because he has done very well for us.'