The patience of Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish could be tested if transfer target Bobo Balde turns down a lucrative offer from the Blues.
McLeish has made no secret of the fact that he is keen to recruit another central defender to compliment Martin Taylor, Liam Ridgewell and Radhi Jaidi, and the Celtic centre half has been on McLeish’s radar for some time, but Blues have not been the only interested party as Wolverhampton Wanderers were also in the hunt.
McLeish wants to bring in a tried and trusted centre half with experience and Balde fits the bill. During his time at Celtic he has so far won five league titles, three Scottish Cups and one Scottish League Cup, and was part of the Celtic squad which made it to the 2003 Uefa Cup Final.
However, Balde has been a difficult character to deal with and has refused to compromise on his wage demands.
Reports in Scotland have stated that the French-born Guinean international has been earning £30,000 at Celtic Park, which has put off a lot of interested parties, including Wolves.
However, the Daily Record in Scotland have reported that Blues have offered the 32-year-old £22,000 per week plus £10,000 appearance fee but Balde will turn it down because he is refusing to budge until Celtic give him money to leave.
Despite the situation, McLeish is confident he can entice Balde to St Andrew’s.
“Bobo’s away with Guinea on international duty at the moment so we can’t take things any further until he gets back,” McLeish said.
“But we are hopeful a deal could be done.
To be honest, we’ve looked at a million centrebacks and Balde is still the one who stands out.
His physical presence is superb and he also has experience of playing at the top level.
“I don’t like to talk too much about transfer deals, particularly as it’s very early days, but hopefully we can meet with the player and come to an agreement by the end of next week.”
Despite the transfer window being extended until September 1, time is certainly ticking for McLeish to add to his squad and he won’t wait for Balde forever.
McLeish will have other players on his shortlist and first team coach Roy Aitken was at Wednesday night’s England game against the Czech Republic.
McLeish said he is still confident about bringing in at least one additional player on a permanent deal and he is still considering making a few loan signings as well.
“I’m hoping to do at least one transfer before the end of the window, but if I could get two it would give us a bit more security,” said McLeish.
“There will also be opportunities to loan but I would prefer to take in players that are tried and trusted rather than a loan that’s tipped as one for the future and I’m not sure about, unless it’s coming from a source that I have great respect for. That’s my game plan.”