Birmingham City have not pulled the plug on the deal to sign Derby County’s Stephen Pearson, despite concerns over the player’s fitness.
The Rams and Blues had agreed a fee of around £600,000 and the Scottish midfielder agreed terms last week. However, Pearson (pictured) has a history of groin injuries and a tear was found in the muscle during his medical. Blues manager Alex McLeish is now keen to take the 25-year-old on loan with a view to a permanent transfer if they are satisfied with the player’s progress.
Derby manager Paul Jewell said: “They’re not sure about his medical so it might be a loan. Stephen wants it to happen, Alex wants it to happen so as far as I’m concerned, it will.”
McLeish sees the former Celtic star as an ideal replacement for Olivier Kapo, who was sold for £3.5?million to Wigan Athletic earlier this month. Pearson made his name at Motherwell before moving to Celtic Park, where he was a member of two Scottish Premier League championship-winning sides.
He headed south in January 2007 for £750,000 and played a crucial role in Derby’s promotion to the Barclays Premier League, scoring in the 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion in the play-off final.
However, after the departure of Billy Davies, who was Pearson’s boss at Motherwell, the entire squad is being shaken up, with Pearson one of several players being shown the door.
Meanwhile, another Scot currently in the Blues ranks, James McFadden, is settling down to life with Birmingham, despite speculation he wants to leave. The £5?million striker, who also began his career at Motherwell, was rumoured to be keen on a move away from St Andrew’s after the club’s relegation, despite only joining from Everton in January. Team-mate Sebastian Larsson is also said to be attracting attention.
However, McLeish said the 25-year-old Scotland international has settled down and has been in impressive form during the club’s recent tour of Austria.
McLeish said: “I think Lee Carsley summed it up well in a newspaper interview a couple of weeks ago. He said we need Faddy to stay, he’s a talent, a match-winner and he also mentioned it would be good for Faddy as well to get a whole season under his belt because of the bit-part he had at Everton.
“He said this was a chance for him to play a leading role in what he believes can be a successful season. I thought they were good words and I think if Faddy had read them, it would have been beneficial.
“I think it’s very normal that some of our players will be sought after and is that a bad thing? We treat as hostile anybody coming (for him). We don’t want to sell and (McFadden and Larsson) are not for sale.
“Any interest means we at Birmingham have got great players and we want to go forward with these lads and they can be part of something as well.”
Blues have announced their squad numbers for the coming campaign with Kevin Phillips taking the departed Mikael Forssell’s No 9 shirt. New captain Carsley will wear No 26, while 16-year-old midfielder Jordan Mutch, who has been impressing during pre-season, has been rewarded with the No 17 shirt.