Birmingham have failed with an approach to Manchester City to sign on-loan goalkeeper Joe Hart on a permanent basis.
The 22-year-old shot-stopper has taken the plaudits following his form since joining the Blues on a season-long loan from City in August.
First-team opportunities at the big-spending Eastlands club had dried up following their signing of Shay Given from Newcastle United 12 months ago.
Hart is being mentioned as possible member of England's World Cup squad for South Africa and McLeish approached City over retaining the keeper on a full-time basis.
However, he is still held in high esteem by City and they have no intention of letting the former Shrewsbury Town youngster move on during the transfer window.
"City will take Joe Hart back at the end of the season," McLeish told The Guardian.
"There is no chance of us signing him in January. We asked the question and they said that won't happen. We never had an option from City to buy him.
"He has the comfort of knowing City really want him and he is part of their future."
However, McLeish is not giving up hope of being able to re-sign Hart for next season.
He added:"Joe Hart remains a big part of the future. But you couldn't rule out that Joe stays with us in the summer.
"They said he was going out for experience to improve and he has improved.
"It doesn't preclude him from coming back and we can negotiate with City for another year."