McLeish resigned by email on Sunday with two years remaining on his contract. He then became the new favourite to replace Gerard Houllier at Villa Park, but City yesterday insisted that no such appointment could be made without their permission and provision of compensation.
Birmingham City acting chairman Peter Pannu has now revealed that Villa have contacted the club to discuss McLeish’s status.
“I got an email from Aston Villa, finally replying to all of our queries,” he said. “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 seeks to pursue compensation - £5.4m if a deal is done this month, £3m next month - and an injunction to prevent McLeish turning to City’s local rivals.
“I’ll be reporting what’s happened to the Premier League,” he continued. “This is like conspiracy to defraud. It’s borderline criminal. That’s how strong I’ll put it.”
It is expected that McLeish will reply on the board’s interference with transfer matters to claim constructive dismissal.