Birmingham are closing in on a deal to sign Martin Jiranek, Spartak Moscow defender the Press Association reported. Jiranek's contract with the Russian club is up in December and Alex McLeish, the Birmingham manager, is thought to be keen on adding the versatile defender to his squad. Should Jiranek sign before today's transfer deadline, he would provide competition for Roger Johnson, Scott Dann and Liam Ridgewell at centre back, although the Czech Republic international can also play at full-back.
Robinho is reportedly drawing interest from Silvio Berlusconi, the AC Milan owner, who just obtained Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Barcelona. "If a certain player interests us and is functional to our needs then we will be ready for another hit," Berlusconi said. According to reports in Italy, Robinho would welcome a move to Serie A having fallen out of favour with Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager.
Avram Grant said there is no need for West Ham to panic about their slow start unless they fail to improve after 10 or 15 games. West Ham have never lost their first four league games, but they have lost three already and their next game is against Chelsea, the league leaders. However, Grant, the Hammers manager, was adamant that even another defeat would not spell disaster. "It's only the beginning of the season, so we cannot make any conclusions after three weeks," he said. "We must wait for 10-15 games to see our direction."
Steve Bruce is hoping Niall Quinn, his chairman, can make a breakthrough in the transfer market after Fraizer Campbell, the striker, was sidelined by a potentially serious knee injury. Bruce, who was already desperate to bring in a replacement for Kenwyne Jones, saw his need increase markedly when the former Manchester United youngster was hurt in a clash with Micah Richards shortly before half-time in his side's 1-0 victory over Manchester City. His first target appears to be Asamoah Gyan, Rennes' Ghana international. The Black Cats confirmed they are in talks with the Ligue 1 club after lodging a bid for the 24-year-old.
Luke Young hopes the club fills their managerial vacancy as quickly as possible and backed Kevin MacDonald, the caretaker manager, for the role. MacDonald has promised to let Randy Lerner , the Villa owner, know by today if he wants to be considered for the job on a permanent basis. Young, who scored the winning goal on Sunday night against Everton, said MacDonald has the qualities to succeed. "I hope now Kevin is given the chance if he wants to take it to be involved as manager," Young said. "I think it is important now to get this sorted out as quickly as possible."
Matt Gilks said he was on the point of quitting football last year and finding work in a factory or a garage. Fifteen months later, the goalkeeper playing for Blackpool in the Premier League. He also been drafted into the Scotland squad for Euro 2012 qualifiers against Lithuania and Liechtenstein. He said the turning point was when Ian Holloway arrived to manage the club. "I had lost faith in myself, I had lost faith in football," he said. "If the manager hadn't changed, I would probably have gone away from football totally. He has been a massive influence on everyone." * Agencies