McLeish hopeful that Michel shines

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Birmingham boss Alex McLeish believes Sporting Gijon playmaker Michel will be "a player for now and the future" as he moves closer to finally completing a switch to St. Andrews.

Michel is expected to complete a £3million switch, subject to passing a medical, although he is unlikely to have signed in time for Saturday's home Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester United.

McLeish sees Michel as a younger version of Lee Bowyer and Barry Ferguson, who have anchored the City midfield so effectively this season. "I said I wanted to sign players of quality during January and he fits the bill," he said.

"It's probably better I talk about Michel once he actually comes and signs for Birmingham.

"But he is a holding midfielder in much the same way as we play Barry Ferguson and Lee Bowyer.

"He is very comfortable on the ball, has good quality, is only 23, has got good legs and is a player for now but also the future."

McLeish added: "It doesn't look likely things will be completed in time for him to be available against United.

"But I will be delighted when it is all done and dusted as I have been keeping tabs on him for over 12 months now."

However, McLeish is not to pursue his interest in Slovakian striker Jan Novak after the MFK Kosice striker spent last month on trial with Blues.

He said: "It was a difficult one because it was thrust upon us. Jan came in, he trained with us and he looked not too bad. But I don't know about Jan to make a commitment of £2-3million. I feel I've got to go at the moment for players I am fully aware of."

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