Jermaine Pennant's proposed transfer to Birmingham City from Arsenal moved a step closer last night after the 22-year-old hit out at the lack of first- team opportunities under ArsEne Wenger.

The midfielder, on loan at St Andrew's, stated earlier this month he intended to speak to Arsenal before deciding where his future lies - despite Blues agreeing a £3 million fee with the Premiership champions for him.

But after talks with Wenger, Pennant's latest remarks suggest he is resigned to leaving Highbury - making Birmingham favourites to sign the ex-England Under- 21 international.

"I've been at Arsenal for seven years and the amount of games I've played is poor, I don't know if it's because I'm English," said Pennant, who has only made 14 starts for the Gunners.

"He [Wenger] has got a lot of foreigners, a lot of good players so I was patient and it didn't work for me there.

"I scored a hat-trick on my first start in the Premiership but after that I was shipped off to Leeds United for last season. It was frustrating but I did well there, came back, and it still did not make a difference."

Pennant, who arrived on loan in January until the end of the season, is expected to make his seventh start for Birmingham tomorrow at home to Portsmouth.

But it is the support Blues have given Pennant off the pitch during his recent conviction for drink-driving offences which could convince him to stay permanently.

Pennant is on parole after serving a prison sentence following his arrest in January when he drove a Mercedes Benz into a lamp post in Buckinghamshire.

He was released after 30 days of a three-month sentence and Blues manager Steve Bruce selected him for the clash against Tottenham the following weekend.

Pennant added: "The support I've got from the Birmingham fans has been magnificent. Since I came to the club, went inside and came out, they've stuck by me 100 per cent and I have to say thank you to them.

"Steve Bruce, a great manager, has had my back since I've been at the club which is great as well. He has had faith in me and I want to repay that faith.

"I probably needed to go inside to reflect on certain things and I came out a better person, and I'm definitely going to come out a better player. When I was at Arsenal I was going through a bad patch and had things going on in my life.

"Everyone makes mistakes, I made a costly one really and it was in the public eye. At least I've made them now when I'm young and not when I'm 29 or 30 at the end of my career."