Blues gunning for Rifle
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Birmingham have confirmed they want Walter Pandiani on a permanent basis.Birmingham have confirmed their desire to sign Uruguayan star Walter Pandiani on a permanent basis, which could signal the departure of Clinton Morrison.
Pandiani - nicknamed The Rifle - is on loan at St Andrews for the rest of the season from Spanish giants Deportivo La Coruna.
He is already a firm fans' favourite after two goals in his first three games and now Blues chairman David Gold insists the club will look to tie up a deal for Pandiani.
"When I shook his hand, I could see in his eyes that here was someone who was a winner and had the spirit to do well for us," said Gold, who compares Pandiani to former Blues favourite Christophe Dugarry.
"I can see some similarities between him and Christophe Dugarry - but I think Pandiani offers us even more.
"When Steve Bruce brought Dugarry over here, we were talking about a player who was near the end of his career and wanted one more big stage to play on. We gave him that and it kept us in the Premiership.
"But Walter is only 28 and we would hope that at the end of the season we would be in a position to offer him a contract that would enable him to see out his career with Birmingham.
"It is too early to be talking about a permanent move just yet, and there is no rush over this, but that is the hope.
"It would be tremendous if Walter could score 10 goals and lift us into the top half of the table. If he did that, it would be a fantastic outcome and then we would want to talk to him about staying.
"That is why we can get more out of Walter than we did with Dugarry although we are grateful for the job he did for us and Christophe will remain a Blues legend."
The decision to land Pandiani, could signal Morrison's exit.
The Irish star has been offered a new contract, but he insists he will not sign anything until he has assurances of his long-term future.
"Bruce has said he doesn't want to sit down until the end of the season, but I won't sign a contract until I know that I will get a certain amount of games," said Morrison.
"I know a Premiership club needs four strikers, but when you are playing well you don't like to be dropped.
"The manager has told me he wants to play me more, but I'll just have to wait and see if that happens.
"Not playing regularly could also have an impact on my international place and I want to help take the team into the World Cup finals."