Johan Djourou will definitely return to Arsenal in January when his loan deal at Birmingham expires.
Alex McLeish had been keen to keep the Swiss international defender at St Andrews but Arsene Wenger has requested that the player return to the Emirates.
Djourou had followed in the footsteps of Fabrice Muamba and Nicklas Bendtner by joining the Midlands outfit on-loan, but after making 12 appearances for the club he will now return to London.
The main reason behind Wenger's desire for Djourou to return to his parent club is that Kolo Toure is due to represent the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations, a situation which will leave Arsenal short of defensive options.
Despite being disappointed that he is losing the player, McLeish accepts his fellow manager's decision.
"Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has told me he is taking him back in January," the former Scotland boss told the Birmingham Mail.
"He will be a loss, for sure. It is disappointing that he is not going to be with us for much longer.
"But, 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."