Villa let Blues open Cahill talks
Birmingham City have been given permission to hold talks with Aston Villa defender Gary Cahill ahead of a possible move to St Andrews, according to reports.
With the Blues' January transfer plans starting to fall into place - David Murphy has joined from Hibs and James McFadden is on the verge of moving from Everton - Alex McLeish is showing no signs of slowing down his efforts to strengthen the squad.
Cahill, 22, is thought to have held talks with Villa boss Martin O'Neill regarding his future on Monday but it is not clear whether he is available on a permanent basis or just for a loan deal. There has been speculation that a permanent switch could cost £4million - or at least that's what Villa fans want for the player.
According to SkySports.com: "McLeish has also been given permission to hold discussions with Aston Villa central defender Gary Cahill. Cahill is not short of suitors having recently returned from a successful loan stint at Sheffield United but it could be that he remains in the Midlands and links up with former Villa team-mate Liam Ridgewell."
Do not be too surprised if Villa announce the sale of Cahill at around the same time as they announce the signing of Spurs' striker Jermain Defoe, in what would be a classic public relations exercise of "burying bad news" to placate their fans, assuming, of course, they can find the cash needed to complete the transfer.
SkySports.com also reports McLeish has confirmed he is interested in loaning Argentine wonderkid Mauro Zarate. The 20-year-old striker currently plays for little-known Qatari club Al-Sadd, who are currently considering whether to accept the offer (click here for more about Zarate).