The Birmingham Mail understands that Birmingham City’s hopes of re-signing midfielder Craig Gardner from West Bromwich Albion have hit ‘significant stumbling blocks’. Agreeing a transfer fee as well as personal terms are the main issues facing the Blues in their quest to bring Gardner back to St Andrews.
Tony Pulis is not prepared to let the player go lightly, unless the price is paid. The 30-year-old remains under contract at The Hawthorns until 2019 and the former Stoke City boss wouldn’t be unhappy for him to stay with the Premier League club. Nevertheless, they are still open to offers for the player and Gianfranco Zola wants to bring him in.
A loan deal does not interest the Baggies, stating he will only be allowed to leave permanently, if at all. Gardner is a childhood Birmingham supporter and played over 40 games for them before making the move to Sunderland for £6million in 2011.
The West Brom hierarchy are awaiting assurances from the Sky Bet Championship club that they can indeed pay the appropriate price, as well as be able to pay his £28,000-a-week wages. Given Birmingham were taken over last month, leading to Gary Rowett being replaced by Zola, it is though that funds are available to improve the squad this month.
Gardner has only made nine appearances for West Brom this season, his most recent coming in the December 14th home victory over Swansea City. He also played in the Checkatrade Trophy for the Under-23 side versus Luton Town in October, a match the Hatters won 2-0.