Villa: McLeish approach not official

Aston Villa have clarified an approach to Alex McLeish, but Birmingham City still intend to prevent their ex-manager joining their rivals.New Championship club City have reiterated their right for compensation of up to 5.4 million pounds if Villa appoint McLeish to their vacant post.

Having led Birmingham to a League Cup triumph but also to relegation from the English Premier League, McLeish tendered his resignation on Sunday and has wore criticism from the club since.

City maintain McLeish is not a free agent, putting an approach from Aston Villa on Monday in dangerous territory. The English Premier League club has responded to Birmingham about the contact, claiming it was not an official approach.

Birmingham acting chairman Peter Pannu has hinted at legal action for McLeish, and is still likely to report the matter to the Premier League despite Villa’s reply to the allegations.

“I got an email from Aston Villa, finally replying to all of our queries. As expected, their legal department said, ‘Now Alex McLeish is a free agent having resigned, we’re free to speak to him’. This confirms all suspicions. This shows what has happened,” Pannu told Sky Sports.

“Within the first year he (McLeish), or the club who sign him, have to compensate us at 5.4 million pounds.”

“The first year expires on June 30. The second year starts July 1, when the compensation fee is three million pounds.”

“I’ll be seeking an injunction preventing Villa from hiring him.”

“I’ll be reporting what’s happened to the Premier League. This is like conspiracy to defraud.”

“It’s borderline criminal. That’s how strong I’ll put it.”