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English Premiership

Michel joins Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, January 12- Miguel Marcos Michel has become the first major signing of Carson Yeung's reign as Birmingham City owner after the Blues announced Monday they'd signed him from Spanish side Sporting Gijon.The 24-year-old has joined in a deal worth a reported three million pounds.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish almost signed the midfielder in August but the clubs were unable to agree on the structure of payments for the player.

Hong Kong tycoon Yeung, who took over Birmingham in October, has promised to back McLeish in the transfer market.

"Michel is in a great age group and has got good legs and a lovely touch on the ball as you would imagine from a Spanish player performing at La Liga level," McLeish told the club’s official website on Monday.

Michel scored seven goals in 138 appearances for Sporting Gijon since making his debut in the 2005/06 season and had been the club’s player of the season during each of the last two campaigns.

Former Scotland manager McLeish, who could have at least 20 million pounds to spend on new signings, said he was still "interested in one or two players".

But he said each potential acquisition would be judged on its own merits.

"If there’s 20 million pounds to spend then I’m sure Carson means that but whether I spend that remains to be seen," he said.

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"I would probably need to bring four or five players in to get through that money. I’m certainly not going to spend it on one player because I don’t think we’re ready for that step.

"There are a few clubs that are desperate for cash and we’re aware of that as well," McLeish added.

"So prices can be inflated at the beginning of the month and they start to see sense towards the end of January."

Last weekend’s 1-1 draw with champions Manchester United saw Birmingham extend their club record of successive unbeaten top-flight games to 12 matches and left them an impressive eighth in the table.

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