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McLeish confirms Birmingham planning to mine Asian talent

Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish says they're ready to tap into the talent in East Asia.

Brum are already planning to open academies to try and attract the best youngsters.

But McLeish is also mindful of making sure the players they pursue and nurture are good enough to play in the Barclays Premier League.

The former Scotland boss told the Sunday Mercury: "Because of our Asia contacts, we should be spreading the net out here and getting them (potential players) when they are younger.

"I am willing to explore the market. You look at the guys in the past from the Far East who have been great ambassadors.

"Nakata played in England and Serie A and Zheng Zhi was at Celtic, plus people like Du Wei and Fan Zhiyi.

"If I am being recommended Asian players who are already playing in Europe, then that's too late and you've got to buy them expensive.

"Like I said, with our contacts in the region, we should be getting them younger.

"But, if there are any out there now, they would have to be good enough to play week in and week out in the Premier League."

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