Blackburn Club Focus – Future of Samba could determine future for Rovers

When towering defender Chris Samba joined Blackburn Rovers for just £450,000 from Hertha Berlin in 2007, many supporters would not have predicted how important the Congolese centre-half would become for the team five years later. The French-speaking giant arrived as an unknown quantity, but is now a household name thanks to some magnificent performances in a Rovers shirt over the years. Some fans believe that Steve Kean’s side would almost certainly face relegation if Samba were to leave during the transfer window. Unfortunately for them, their influential skipper now wants to move to a more ambitious side.

To Samba’s credit, he has not shown any signs on the pitch of his desire to leave. In fact, given his superb displays at both ends of the pitch in recent weeks, the adventurous defender has arguably been Rovers’ best player. So why would Samba want to leave behind a set of supporters who admire him, a team which he has the privilege of captaining and a club that has given him the chance to showcase his obvious talents? According to the ‘big man’, the answer lies with the owners.

Speaking to L’Equipe, Samba said: “Recently, mentally, it’s been difficult for me. I have tried to keep up my levels of performance, but I feel the time has come for a change for me. The club is not changing at all. I’m resigned to that. I’ve always put the interest of the club before my own. I’ve put in so much for them, and always tried to lead by example here, but things have not gone as I was told. I hope people understand me.

In his interview with the French newspaper, Samba specifically spoke about how he would welcome a move to Paris Saint-Germain. According to reports, PSG’s new manager Carlo Ancelotti is considering a move for Samba, but no formal approach has been made. Other approaches have been made however, with Kean confirming that the club had rejected two bids for its prized asset from an unnamed club, thought to be Queens Park Rangers. The London club reportedly made an offer of around £5m for Samba while Neil Warnock was still in charge, however now that Mark Hughes – who brought Samba to England – has taken over as manager at Loftus Road, many expect Rangers to come back with an increased offer. Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has also spoken of his interest in the defender.

Of course, given that Samba is under a long-term contract, Rovers do not necessarily have to allow him to leave. But the reality is that if a large offer is made for the skipper, then it will have to be considered. Kean has repeatedly said that Samba is ‘not for sale’. Supporters may see how much the Scot means that over the next few weeks. One thing is for sure, if Samba leaves Ewood Park this month, then Rovers’ chances of survival will be dealt a significant blow.

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