Blues close on Martins loan deal

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Birmingham are confident of completing the loan signing of former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins before the transfer window closes on Monday night.

The Rubin Kazan player flew into England on Sunday to finalise terms - with a view to a permanent move to St. Andrew's in the summer - before undergoing a medical.

City confirmed on Monday afternoon that Martins had been granted his work permit.

Martins already had a permit but it was null and void as he left the UK to join Wolfsburg from the Magpies 18 months ago.

Blues boss Alex McLeish has been desperate to bring in a new striker throughout January.

He has already failed in attempts to sign Robbie Keane from Tottenham and Kenny Miller from Rangers.


Birmingham are hopeful of retaining another striker in Cameron Jerome - a target for Stoke - after the England Under-21 player made it clear he wants to stay at St. Andrew's.

But the picture is less clear as regards £6million signing, Nikola Zigic, with Racing Santander wanting to sign him on loan or in a permanent deal.

McLeish indicated last week that it would be "difficult to let Ziggy go" if he repeats the form shown in the Carling Cup semi-final win over West Ham.

The former Scotland boss made the same point to City's acting chairman, Peter Pannu, on Saturday.

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