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Last Updated: Friday, 6 July 2007, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Birmingham seal Schmitz loan deal
Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce has been busy in the transfer market
Birmingham have completed their seventh summer swoop after sealing a deal to take Lille central defender Rafael Schmitz on a season-long loan deal.

The Brazilian passed a medical on Friday after agreeing to make the temporary switch to St Andrews.

Blues boss Steve Bruce said: "We saw Lille play in the league against Paris St Germain and Auxerre and Rafael impressed both times.

"We also saw him play in the Champions League as well."

Schmitz will not be able to play in any friendly games for the Blues until he is granted a French passport.

He was granted dual nationality in May and is set to get confirmation by August, which will delay his registration with the Premier League.

A Blues statement read: "The club hopes to be able to clarify this position on Monday following notification from the Premier League."

Aston Villa have spent 8.5m on one player - that's our entire budget

Birmingham boss Steve Bruce

Bruce has already signed Fabrice Muamba, Stuart Parnaby, Olivier Kapo, Garry O'Connor, Daniel de Ridder and Richard Kingson - the latter subject to obtaining a work permit - this summer.

But he is aware he has to wheel and deal to bring in new blood as Birmingham do not have the same financial clout as many Premiership clubs.

He said: "Even in the 12 months we've been out of the Premiership we've noticed a change. Our closest rivals Aston Villa have spent 8.5m on one player with Nigel Reo-Coker. That's our entire budget.

"I'm green with envy but that's not possible for me. I'd love to be in a different market but, although we are not, I still think we can be competitive."

Bruce admits he may have to go down the same route as with the capture of Schmitz if he is to further bolster his squad.

He said: "The way the prices have gone in this country now, it's a route we are going to have to go down again."


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