Birmingham boss enjoying 'banter' with West Ham

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Football News

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has laughed off reports that former club owners David Sullivan and David Gold want to sign Liam Ridgewell, Sebastian Larsson and Christian Benitez for West Ham in the summer.

Defender Ridgewell and midfielder Larsson are in talks regarding new deals, although in any case Blues have two and one-year options on their current deals they can take up.

Benitez is on loan for the season from Santos Laguna, and McLeish has made it clear he wants to sign the Ecuador striker on a permanent basis.

Regarding the reported interest from Hammers owners Sullivan and Gold, McLeish said: "I'm not annoyed. It's good fun, all part of the banter. I'm not surprised by anything I read in the papers or see in the media nowadays."

He added: "The mind games, the Premier League's high profile, all makes for good reading and you get a good laugh sometimes."

McLeish added: "In terms of players who are out of contract, there are some discussions ongoing.

"We have got some players coming up to their option periods and we plan to take up those options and let them know more towards the end of the season."

McLeish has been impressed with Benitez despite a return of only three goals this season and he impressed when returning to the side in the 2-0 midweek win at Portsmouth.

The Blues boss said: "As regards Christian, I would like to keep him here.

"But we have still got work to do and I don't want to talk about anyone's futures until we get the job done finally and the season is over."

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Liam Ridgewell
Premier League
Christian Benitez
West Ham United
Sebastian Larsson

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