Birmingham City’s Scott Dann has revealed that it was Alex McLeish’s finest sales spiel that convinced him to opt for the club over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Blues squad reconvene tomorrow for pre-season training but Dann is already familiar with the surroundings of their Wast Hills training complex having clocked in last Monday.
The centre-back arrived from neighbouring Coventry City for an initial £3.5 million last month and is preparing for his first experience of the Premier League, which gets underway in just over a month.
However, not for the first time this summer, fellow promoted side Wolverhampton Wanderers similarly showed an interest in a Birmingham target.
American defender Oguchi Onyewu, goalkeeper Joe Hart and more recently former Celtic centre-back Bobo Balde are three players who have courted interest from both of the Premier League’s newest arrivals from the West Midlands, Dann was another.
So what was it that made Dann resist the lures of Molineux for life at St Andrew’s?
“When I spoke to the manager he sold the club to me straight away and told me all the things he wanted to do and the players he wanted to bring in,” said 22-year-old Dann, a former England Under-21 international.
“There was just something about him (McLeish) that set in my mind that I wanted to go there and obviously it’s a massive club. So once I knew Birmingham were interested I didn’t think twice.
“Obviously I don’t live far from here with me being at Coventry, I’m quite settled and you don’t have to worry about moving, it’s just straight into the training and look forward to the season,” he said.
“I’ve got the chance to play in the top league in the world, so that was a big factor. When I spoke to the manager everything he was saying was sinking in.”
Dann is sensible enough to know that he still has a lot to learn to call himself a Premier League player.
Raised in Liverpool, Dann is a well-grounded individual who learned his trade on the Sunday football scene on Merseyside before being picked up by Walsall.
Since then he has embarked on an impressive rise through the English leagues to finally reach the top rung.
“The Premier League won’t change me in any way at all,” added Dann. “The only thing it will do is it will make me work harder and make me want to do even better than I have done, that’s the way I look at it.
“All the hard work that I’ve done to get here, it means nothing now, this is where it starts now for me.”
Meanwhile, Dann may be one recruit who is settling into his new surroundings but another, Christian Benitez, doesn’t appear to be any closer to sealing his move to St Andrew’s.
The Ecuador international striker’s proposed move from Santos Laguna has been held up further due to a previously unknown knee problem.
Birmingham are in talks with his Mexican employers to discuss a redraft of their agreement, which was originally an initial £6.2 million plus a further £3 million add-on.