Blues capture Hleb and Jiranek

The 29-year-old former Arsenal midfielder is Blues’ sixth summer
signing and the second on deadline day after they also completed a
deal for defender Jiranek this afternoon. Hleb made 89 appearances
for Arsenal before leaving the club to join Barcelona two years
ago. The Belarus international has struggled for first-team
football in Catalonia, however, and was also farmed out on a
season-long loan the German side Stuttgart last season. Blues,
meanwhile, have paid an undisclosed fee for 31-year-old Czech
Republic hardman Jiranek. Birmingham boss Alex McLeish told the
club’s website: “We are short at the back with regards to defensive
cover. “Jiranek has tremendous experience on club, European and
international fronts. “He is a good presence and his arrival will
keep Roger Johnson and Scott Dann on their toes.” Jiranek, who has
31 international caps, cost Spartak £4.7million in 2004.
McLeish described Hleb’s arrival as a “major signing”, less than a
week after they missed out on securing the services of Wigan winger
Charles N’Zogbia. “Hleb is a top quality player – one who at one
stage we’d only actually dreamed about really,” he said. “Over the
past year or so we have talked about him but with no real belief we
could get him. “We decided to give it a try and towards the end of
the window we found out it might be possible. “This is a major
signing for us and we are very happy to have him here. “He is an
extremely creative type who is skilful, a great dribbler and has an
excellent touch and great feet. “He has huge international
experience and great pedigree due to playing for such clubs as
Stuttgart, Arsenal and Barcelona. “As with all the players we have
brought to the club in recent times I’d like to thank the board for
their support in making them happen.” The duo join fellow summer
signings Ben Foster, Nikola Zigic, Matt Derbyshire and Eric Valles
as Birmingham look to improve on their ninth-place finish last
term.