Villa's Gardner headed for Birmingham

Former England U-21 international midfielder Craig Gardner is set to join highflying Barclays Premier League side Birmingham City from city rivals and League Cup finalists Aston Villa for £3m. The 23-year-old will sign for Birmingham - who are eighth in the table just a place below Villa - provided he passes a medical and agrees personal terms.

Gardner, who scored twice in 14 appearances for the England U-21 side, played over 50 times for Villa, but because of back and groin injuries has only appeared three times this season. Birmingham manager Alex McLeish was delighted to have agreed a fee for Gardner as he is capable of playing at right back as well.

"Craig is a versatile and dynamic player who can perform in a number of positions," said McLeish, who has stunned observers in making Birmingham contenders for a European place next season and not battling against relegation as many expected them to be.

"Players like that are really worth their weight in gold," he said.

Craig is a versatile and dynamic player who can perform in a number of positions.
Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish

The Blues had a bid for Gardner turned down on Sunday, but returned to Villa with an improved offer. Gardner will be Birmingham's second signing during the transfer window and since Carson Yeung took over the club, after they signed Spanish midfielder Miguel Marcos Michel for £3m from Sporting Gijon earlier this month.