Birmingham boss Alex McLeish feels he is likely to be priced out of many of his preferred transfer targets over the summer.
McLeish is keen to strengthen his defence ahead of Blues' return to the Premier League and has been linked with David Wheater of Middlesbrough.
But the Scot does not have a large transfer kitty and told the Birmingham Mail: "It's difficult for us to buy top-end centre-halves in the Premier League."
He added: "If Middlesbrough go down, then Wheater? He is a decent player and someone we have watched over the last five weeks just in case they say 'do you want a bargain'?
"But we think they will be looking for about eight or nine million pounds."
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