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Birmingham signing Jiranek had other European suitors

Martin Jiranek rejected a host of European clubs in favour of a move to the Barclays Premier League with Birmingham City. Spartak Moscow sparked plenty of interest in the Czech Republic defender when they announced they were prepared to listen to offers for their 31-year-old skipper.

Jiranek signed for the Blues on a one-year deal on transfer deadline day, and he told the Birmingham Mail: "I had many offers. Three from teams in Spain, one from Germany, one from Russia but it was my dream to test myself in the Premier League - which is probably the best league in the world.

"I knew Birmingham finished ninth in the league last season, which is a great result. I was quite happy to join that kind of team.

"It's a new challenge for me. In Russia I was there seven years as captain of Spartak Moscow and played in the Champions League and UEFA Cup and Russian League, so every part of the grass was already well known. New motivation was needed."

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