Junior Hoilett’s reputation increases as his Blackburn contract expires

Junior Hoilett has just entered the final 12 months of his current contract and behind the scenes, Blackburn Rovers are desperately trying to secure his long-term future. The current sticking point is believed to be the valuation of the release clause included in any proposed new deal. Hoilett’s advisors are apparently happy to agree to a £15m valuation but Blackburn appear to be pushing for £18m, even higher than the £16m clause that Manchester United activated in the contract of Phil Jones. Anyone that has witnessed the marauding performances of Jones since his move to Old Trafford will appreciate how highly Blackburn clearly rate their Canadian winger.

Blackburn’s lofty opinion of Hoilett does not appear misguided. He has been outstanding this season, and were it not for the fascination with regards to the club’s ownership and the uncertainty that surrounds manager Steve Kean, Hoilett would surely have received the plaudits that his performances have merited. Having turned 21 in the summer, Hoilett has already played 62 times for Blackburn and is yet to decide his international future, eligible for Canada, Jamaica and Nicaragua as well as England.

He made headlines this season for the clattering he received from Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer in stoppage time during their recent 1-1 draw, a challenge which left Hoilett out cold and carried off in a neck brace. Earlier in the game, Hoilett provided the assist for the opening goal, crossing for Ruben Rochina to open the scoring. He also created Blackburn’s goal in their 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa with a sublime run and cross for Morten Gamst Pedersen to score with a close range header. Hoilett missed the first of two squandered penalties as Blackburn lost at home to Everton, despite dominating the game, but he also set up Yakubu’s first goal in the 4-3 win over Arsenal. Hoilett scored his first goal of the season at the weekend with a 16-yard strike to give Blackburn brief hope of a comeback against Newcastle United, eventually losing 3-1, a result that leaves Rovers eighteenth in the table with four points from six games.

Steve Kean remains confident that Hoilett will put pen to paper: “We are getting there very slowly,” explained Kean recently. “I believe the term has been agreed and his base salary has been agreed.” Blackburn were able to fend off interest from Newcastle in the transfer window, but if they do not manage to agree a deal by January, Hoilett will be free to talk to clubs and a far higher calibre of suitor are likely to express an interest.

Kean has played a significant role in the progress of Hoilett and he is pulling out all the stops to keep him at Blackburn and avoid losing the player in the summer for a nominal fee, decided by a tribunal. If he were to able to secure Hoilett’s services, it would certainly provide a timely boost for both his reputation and immediate job prospects, as Kean remains unpopular despite some shrewd dealings in the transfer window. He is struggling to emulate his predecessor Sam Allardyce and is well aware that retaining Hoilett is essential personally, professionally and, for Blackburn Rovers, financially, as the threat of relegation looms large.

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