Club Focus – Blackburn – Desai to make funds available to Big Sam in January

Earlier this week, Blackburn Rovers announced that the club will be sold to an Indian poultry group in November. Since then, there has been quite a lot of speculation about the company’s ambitions for the club and how much they would be willing to provide Sam Allardyce with to strengthen his squad in January.

Early indications suggested that Venky’s, chaired by Anuradha Desai, would be happy to finish within the top twelve teams of the Premier League. This understandably raised some concern; after all, Rovers achieved a top-half finish last campaign and that was on a shoestring budget. However, more recent quotes suggest that the group are aiming a lot higher. Desai said: “I am not promising that we will be a top four team but I can promise that we will try and that is what we will aim for.

Venky’s will look to provide Big Sam with a £5m transfer kitty in January. This may be a very small amount compared to what the likes of Manchester City have been spending recently, but Rovers fans must remember that the sum is more than what was available this summer, where Allardyce did not have a penny at his disposal.

Fortunately, Desai has promised more money for the future. She said: “Initially there will be £5million put in, straightaway, to buy players but of course if we have to do more then we will. There will then be much more investment and we have devised a spending strategy already for the next three years that will see the manager given significant funds to buy players.

Rumours have already started spreading about how Allardyce might spend his initial allocation in January. Birmingham’s Swedish winger Sebastian Larsson and Manchester City’s talented forward John Guidetti are reportedly already on the radar. But only time will tell how Allardyce decides to splash the cash this winter.

The group are also looking into the option of selling the naming rights to the ground. Ewood Park has been the club’s home for 120 years, but that could all change if the takeover goes ahead. Speaking on this issue, Desai said: “There are a lot of marketing plans. Nothing is certain yet, but one of the things we are considering is sponsorship of Ewood Park, although no decision has been made. We will do the best by the fans and also by the club and it is very important to continue the traditions of the club.

Although the off-field matters have been particularly interesting this week, there is much to look forward to on the field too. Rovers host champions Chelsea this weekend and Allardyce’s men will undoubtedly go into this tough encounter as underdogs. However, Blackburn are certainly no pushovers – the Lancashire side did hold the Londoners to a draw in the corresponding fixture last season.

The Venky’s group, who aim to make India a nation of Blackburn Rovers fans, will have representatives present at the game this weekend. With Rovers hovering just above the relegation zone, a victory would cap a brilliant week for the club overall.

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