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Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Birmingham to lose Arsenal loanee

Johan Djourou
McLeish is disappointed to be losing Djourou

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has failed in an attempt to extend the loan deal of Arsenal defender Johan Djourou.

The 20-year-old has been at St Andrews since the start of this term and McLeish wanted to keep him for the remainder of the season.

McLeish told the Birmingham Mail: "Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has told me he is taking him back in January.

"He will be a loss, for sure. It is disappointing that he is not going to be with us for much longer."

Arsenal will need Djourou to cover for centre-back Kolo Toure in January and February while he plays for the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations.


The Gunners are also facing a spell without Emmanuel Eboue, who damaged knee ligaments in Sunday's 1-0 win over against Chelsea.

McLeish conceded: "You have to respect Arsenal's decision.

"Johan is a big presence of a boy, no doubt about that, and those kind of players seem to be a feature of many a squad in the Premier League."

Djourou will be available to play for the Blues on Saturday, when they travel to Bolton.

see also
Djourou completes Birmingham move
10 Aug 07 |  Birmingham City
Arsenal's Djourou signs new deal
01 Nov 06 |  Arsenal

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