Alexander Hleb has revealed he turned down Liverpool and Tottenham to join Birmingham on a season-long loan.
The former Arsenal midfielder was one of three deadline-day signings by Blues boss Alex McLeish, who also brought in Martin Jiranek and Jean Beausejour.
And Hleb, who has failed to make an impact during a disappointing two-year spell with Barcelona, claimed it was McLeish’s desire to sign him that made his mind up.
The Belarusian told Pressball: “There were many offers; Liverpool, Tottenham, Benfica. But it was necessary to carefully consider all the options. With some we were unable to agree terms.
“Birmingham City apparently wanted me more than anyone else, so they were my preference.
“The decision was prompted by the fact I am well acquainted with the English Championship. This is perfect right now, when I need match practice. The Premier League is the most entertaining league on the planet.
“Birmingham are a stable club and the manager is a good professional. They are not Arsenal, who play every year in the Champions League, but for me it is important now to be playing regularly and returning to my previous level.
“To be honest, the last year and a half hasn’t been what it should. But the deal with Birmingham is my chance and I must take it.”