Franck Queudrue has become the latest player to pledge his loyalty to the Blue flag despite the seemingly endless stream of speculation linking him with a move away from St Andrew’s.
The Birmingham City defender has told The Birmingham Post he is happy to see out his contract and wants to help the club regain their Premier League status.
The Frenchman has two years left to run on his existing deal and, while Birmingham have told him he can leave on a free transfer, wages of £20,000 a week have proved something of a disincentive to potential suitors.
That has left Queudrue, who joined from Fulham last summer, in limbo though have made his second pre-season appearance of the summer against his former employers last Saturday, it is clear there has been a rapprochement between club and player.
“Am I happy to see my contract out? Of course,” Queudrue said. “I am dedicated to this club and I will give whatever I have got to put the maximum in on the pitch. I am not someone who calculates.
If a club comes we have got an agreement there is good opportunity I might leave. In the meantime I am 100 per cent Blues.
“I just want to play football. We have a good bunch of players and we have everything in our hands to go up and get promoted.”
Like all of his team-mates, the full back has been worked hard by the Birmingham coaching staff in the off-season and he looks lighter than he did when he first appeared in Alex McLeish’s first team on Boxing Day last year. “I am getting there with my preparation,” he said. “It has been a hard pre-season, I have worked hard and I am satisfied with my fitness. I just need games now.”
There is a possibility he might get them too. Birmingham do not have much cover at left back or even in central defence, where he deputised on occasion last term.
Certainly McLeish views him as part of this first team squad and has told the defender he is happy to keep him providing he makes the improvements his manager considers necessary.
“I have spoken to him, I want him to get back to the player he was at Middlesbrough,” McLeish said. “He is still only 29 so there is no reason why he can’t. I have spoken to him privately, we are working hard with Franck Queudrue to get him back to a level where he is competing to get in this team.
“People assume he is on his bike and he is leaving. It is OK saying he can go on a free if he wants but he has two-years of contract left and nobody is going to walk away from that.
“I am fine with that as long as Franck knuckles down and does the work I feel he needs to do to get back in the team, that’s fine. To be fair he has been very receptive to it.”
* Everton expect the transfer of former Blues striker Andrew Johnson to Fulham to be completed this week. The original move, worth up to £13 million, had stalled because Fulham were concerned about signs of an old ankle injury that showed up on a scan.