Blues close on Spanish midfielder

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Birmingham are closing in on the signing of Sporting Gijon midfielder Michel in a £3million deal, Press Association Sport understands.

City expect to know in the next 24 hours whether the 24-year-old playmaker will become manager Alex McLeish's first signing during the January transfer window.

Sources close to the club are confident one or two remaining loose ends will be tied up to ensure Michel finally makes the move to St. Andrews.

A medical has even been provisionally arranged for Wednesday by the midlands club.

Michel has been a long-term target of McLeish, who was optimistic of signing the player last summer before the two clubs could not agree on the method of payment, but Michel has remained on McLeish's radar and negotiations were reopened once Carson Yeung's takeover of Birmingham was completed.

McLeish has been delighted with the midfield combination of Lee Bowyer and Barry Ferguson in propelling City into the top 10 of the Barclays Premier League.

But he feels the passing range and youthfulness of Michel can add a new dimension to Blues' play during the second half of the campaign.

Sporting would prefer to keep hold of Michel but they have financial problems which mean a deal is likely to be completed sooner rather than later.

McLeish has indicated he will look to bring in "two or three quality players" during the January window, but he is unlikely to pursue his interest in Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi because of his wage demands.

McLeish expects another potential target, Rangers striker Kris Boyd, to stay with the Scottish Premier League club with his contract running out at the end of the campaign.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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