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Top 5: First XI costs in Premier League

Transfers 5 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 12, 2010

McLeish wary of paying inflated transfer fees

Alex McLeish admits Birmingham are becoming a victim of their own success when it comes to signing new players.

It is no secret the Blues boss has between £20-£40 million to spend in the January transfer window following Carson Yeung's takeover, with a host of big-name players already linked.

Reported moves for Kevin Kuranyi and Kenwyne Jones have hit the buffers due to the inflated cost of the packages involved.

And McLeish, while being as coy as ever when it comes to potential targets, admitted the resulting situation is not easy.

"Yes, that is a problem for me,'' he said. "That's what I have to consider, is when we take the next step. I know that if Birmingham keep improving we're going to have to bring in players - wages will increase, players already here will want higher wages and new contracts. It's a natural evolution.

"I don't want to take too big a step at this moment because I don't think it would be right.''

Birmingham go into Tuesday night's FA Cup third round replay against Nottingham Forest riding the crest of a 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions while standing a lofty eighth in the Premier League.

Asked whether Blues' stunning form is having an impact on his attempted business, McLeish replied: "We relish that - that's the new challenge for us. Long may that continue.

"I'd love to continue being a victim of our success if this team can keep performing the way they are and if I can help them with two or three players to bolster their dreams.''

Spanish midfielder Michel, 23, is undertaking his medical on Monday in order to complete his £3 million switch from Sporting Gijon.

Regarding further new arrivals, McLeish insisted there is nothing imminent but that he "remains interested in one or two players''.

But he also pointed to inflated prices at the start of January and bigger price tags on the continent as reasons why the market on the whole - and Birmingham's activity - has not yet reached fever pitch.

"If there's £20 million to spend then I'm sure Carson means that but whether I spend that remains to be seen,'' he said.

"I would probably need to bring four or five players in to get through that money. I'm certainly not going to spend it on one player because I don't think we're ready for that step.

"There are a few clubs that are desperate for cash and we're aware of that as well. So prices can be inflated at the beginning of the month and they start to see sense towards the end of January.

"Some prices abroad are definitely inflated but the Premier League managers and clubs tend to know the market value for players. It's like buying a house - it's whoever is prepared to pay the money.

"But the Premier League is a tough place to buy players because when you're an established player prices tend to go up very rapidly.''

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