Club Focus – Blackburn – Allardyce closes in on Santa Cruz

Blackburn Rovers have been looking for a quality, experienced, proven goalscorer ever since a certain Paraguayan forward left the club to join big-spending Manchester City. Now, the Lancashire outfit could be preparing a sensational swoop for the man who left them for a fee of over £15m. Roque Santa Cruz is in line for a shock return to Ewood Park -according to local and national media – and that has been the most significant story surrounding the club over the last couple of days.

Santa Cruz scored 19 goals for Rovers in his debut season for the club, after he was purchased at a cut-price fee by former Blues boss Mark Hughes. The signing turned out to be a masterstroke, but Santa Cruz’s injury problems towards the end of his Rovers career meant that when Hughes left Blackburn to join City, and then put in a huge bid for the striker, Rovers simply could not refuse.

However, with Allardyce scouring the market for a striker and City looking to offload players, Santa Cruz could be available for a fee of around £4m. The player is understood to be happy with a return in order to get his career back on track and barring injury problems, he would be an excellent signing for the club under the ownership of Venky’s.

If Rovers are successful in their bid for Santa Cruz, it would show a lot of ambition from the Indian owners, particularly if they meet his wage demands. This could prove to be a stumbling block, but with Rovers now in a better financial situation and an experienced striker in sight, it is certainly a deal which can be done. However, it is quite likely that Allardyce would assess the Paraguayan’s fitness very carefully; after all, Santa Cruz has suffered from quite a few injuries over the past few years.

Meanwhile, a trip to Old Trafford is next up for Allardyce’s side in the Premier League. Following the completion of the takeover and the victory over Aston Villa last time out, Rovers will be in positive spirits when they take on the Red Devils. The Blues are likely to give their opponents a tough game too and Manchester United, who have not yet hit top form this campaign, could crumble under the pressure as they seek to go top of the league. However, it is an away fixture for Rovers and these are not the sort of encounters they are expected to win, so it will be quite a tough task for Allardyce’s men.

Much of the news surrounding Blackburn Rovers seems to be quite positive since the takeover was completed, particularly the link with a striker of Santa Cruz’s quality. However, the real talking is to be done on the pitch where the Blues will be given a tough test. If Rovers can take anything from Old Trafford, then it will be a great result for them.

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