The desire to play in the World Cup next summer inspired Jiri Jarosik to choose first-team football with Birmingham City rather than life on the fringes of the Chelsea squad.
Jarosik, the Czech Republic international midfield player, yesterday joined Birmingham on loan for the rest of the season but is unlikely to be eligible for the Premiership match at home to Middlesbrough tonight.
Jarosik, aged 27, will make the move permanent in May. Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, had faced competition from Celta Vigo and Besiktas for Jarosik but the player wanted to play at St Andrew's.
Jarosik joined Chelsea from CSKA Moscow last January but made only three Premiership appearances and his chances of establishing himself with Chelsea further diminished with the arrival last week of Michael Essien from Olympique Lyon.
Birmingham have a good working relationship with Chelsea - they have taken Mikael Forssell, Mario Melchiot and Jesper Gronjaer from there - and this deal is timely for Bruce.
Bruce has been keen to strengthen his midfield after the loss of Robbie Savage to Blackburn Rovers in January as well as the departure of Darren Carter to West Bromwich Albion and the loss through injury of Mehdi Nafti for the rest of the season.
Bruce s delighted with the arrival of Jarosik, saying: "He is a quality player and also has the added advantage of being able to play as a second striker. Jiri is a very powerful midfield player and is very good in the air. We were aware of him from his time playing with CSKA Moscow and the Czech Republic.
" But I was also impressed with him when he played against us at the end of last season. He played only 25 minutes but he turned the game and caught my eye because of his physical presence."
Jarosik said: "I am leaving for football. I miss the matches. For me it is better to leave Chelsea now. But I do not give up the fight for the place in their line-up. I am leaving for now, then we shall see."
Viktor Kolar, Jarosik's agent, said: "The important thing for Jiri is that he plays matches at the top level, especially as this is a World Cup year.
"For all those reasons, we see Birmingham as being the best solution and we had built up a good understanding with Steve Bruce. We know that other clubs had been interested such as Celta Vigo and Besiktas but Jiri was always going to prefer Birmingham if Chelsea were prepared to release him."