Zigic's height can be perfect foil for Birmingham

The Serbian was the tallest player in the World Cup in South Africa and is capable of beating anyone in the air - a useful tool in the physical English league.

After seeing how effective Peter Crouch's height can be in the Premier League, you can understand why Alex McLeish, the Birmingham City manager, sanctioned a £6 million (Dh35.1m) move for Nikola Zigic, the 6ft 7ins-tall Serbian striker, who arrived from Valencia in the summer. The three-time Serbian Footballer of the Year, 29, was the tallest player in the World Cup in South Africa and is capable of beating anyone in the air - a useful tool in the physical English league, though he admits his height does have its drawbacks.

"It suits me to receive balls from the side or through the centre in the air, rather than the ball at my feet," he said. "I can beat smaller players in the air all the time, but the disadvantage is that I'm not as fast as some of the players who have a burst of pace. "Smaller players react quicker than me and I prefer to play against taller players. Though I am fairly fast considering my height."

He will meet many giants in the Premier League and his career needs a lift after the chastening experience he had at Valencia. Signed for a huge ?20m (Dh96m) fee from Racing Santander in 2007 - they had bought him from Red Star Belgrade a year earlier - he appeared fitfully and did not fit in with Valencia's strike force of the two Davids (Villa and Silva) plus Juan Mata. Zigic started 15 games in his first season and only eight in his second before being loaned back to Racing, where he again excelled, forming a formidable partnership with the diminutive Pedro Munitis, scoring 13 times in 19 games. Yet when he returned to Valencia for the 2009/10 season, he started just five times.

Backed by wealthy Chinese owners, Birmingham impressed by finishing ninth in the Premier League last term after promotion the year before. A repeat will be difficult, but not impossible if they can get the most out of Zigic.

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