Martin Jiranek rejected Schalke and Raul to sign with Birmingham
There was a scramble for Jiranek's services when it became clear that Spartak Moscow were prepared to let their captain go after stalwart service.
Schalke 04 offered him a much better financial package than Blues had proposed - but Jiranek had given his word to Alex McLeish and had his heart set on a new challenge in England.
"I had many offers," Jiranek told the Birmingham Mail. "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."