Nottingham Forest will play hardball over Chris Burke as Birmingham reject second bid
NOTTINGHAM Forest will play hardball with Birmingham City over Chris Burke, after having an improved £500,000 bid for the winger rejected.
The Reds hierarchy were shocked to see what they regard as a fair offer, given that the Scotsman is out of contract in the summer, rejected by their Championship rivals.
And they will not return with a third, improved bid for the 29-year-old – but will leave their latest offer on the table, ahead of the closure of the transfer window tomorrow.
Birmingham are also fielding considerable interest in two of their big assets, Jack Butland and Curtis Davies.
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The club could raise upwards of £5m from the sale of the two players, with England keeper Butland thought to be available for between £3m and £4m and defender Davies for around £1m.
But another Championship club is also believed to have registered an offer of just £150,000 for Burke – which Forest believe is a reflection of his real market value, when he could potentially leave on a free transfer in July.
Boss Alex McLeish does regard Burke as being his primary target, especially as Peterborough have agreed a deal with Crystal Palace for Reds’ other midfield target George Boyd.
But they are willing to wait until tomorrow’s deadline to see if cash-strapped Birmingham have a change of heart, if they are not able to move on anyone else.
McLeish today said there were unlikely to be any players moving out of the City Ground.
“There is no interest in our players; at least not any that I would have an interest in following up,” he said.
But the manager will welcome back one familiar face, in the form of Adlene Guedioura – who will return from South Africa in time to face Birmingham on Saturday, after Algeria bowed out of the African Cup of Nations.
“Algeria are out of the tournament now and Adlene should be in peak condition,” said McLeish. “He should be in the right shape to come straight back in, if we decide that is the right thing to do.
“He flies back on Thursday and we will have to consider that. But there will be no jet lag coming back from South Africa. You always miss his kind of energy in the side. He has decent legs as well. He has a change of pace.”
Goalkeeper Khalid Al Rashidi’s move to Forest should also be confirmed today, after he arrived in the city.
But Sam Hutchinson’s Forest career looks to be temporarily on hold, as he continues to fight his knee injury.
“Khalid is here,” said McLeish. “It will be good to look at him in close quarters, rather than watching him on video.
“We are hopeful he will be available to go on the bench on Saturday. Then we can integrate him in training and see what he can do.
“The only thing we can say about Sam is he is still not fit. He is back at Chelsea. I’m not sure what the future holds.”