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Eck: I was close to signing Tottenham's Dembele for Birmingham

Former Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish admits he tried to sign Tottenham midfielder Moussa Dembele for Birmingham City.

McLeish has revealed how close he went to landing the Belgian.

"I spoke to Dick Advocaat about him. Dick was his coach for Belgium and had seen a lot of him when he played in Holland," he told the Scottish Sun.

"His exact words to me were 'Alex, if you can get him for between £3m and £5m, I'd take him blind'.

"I drove Dembele's agent, a guy called Rodger Linse, to the station. We had a long discussion about how a move to a club like Birmingham would be perfect for him because it would give him a platform, with the possibility of moving on in the future.

"Everything seemed set and I thought we had Dembele, but we were gazumped by Fulham and he went there."

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