Thursday, 1 January 2009

Allardyce Bracing Himself For Man City Santa Cruz Bid


New Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce has conceded that Rovers are bracing themselves for an offer from Premier League rivals Manchester City for striker Roque Santa Cruz now that the transfer window is open again.

City boss Mark Hughes is keen on a reunion with 27-year-old Santa Cruz, who he signed from Bayern Munich last season while in charge at Ewood Park. The Paraguayan International was a huge success for Blackburn last season, scoring 19 goals in his debut Premiership campaign.

Santa Cruz has expressed his desire to leave Blackburn, with the Eastlands Stadium the most likely destination for the striker. However, despite bids being expected for the Paraguayan, Allardyce has revealed that a concrete offer for Santa Cruz has yet to be made.

“I certainly did not speak to Sparky about him after Sunday’s game. I spoke to the chairman and no one has contacted him about it, he tells me,” Allardyce told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph.

“As far as we are concerned, there appears to be an interest from Manchester City, but there is there is no actual confirmed bid from them.

“We just continue trying to get him fit as quickly as possible and playing for us.

“It is reasonable to think we would expect to hear from them because Mark Hughes brought him to the club in the first place and he had a very good season and, if he is struggling for a striker, he is bound to be interested.

“But that interest can only be at the right price for Blackburn Rovers if we considered we wanted to sell him.

“At the moment, we have had nothing to consider anyway, so it is not an issue as far as we are concerned.”

Allardyce has also claimed that there will be other clubs apart from Man City interested in Santa Cruz, who is injured with a calf problem, but insisted that his priority is to get the forward fit and playing for Blackburn again.

“He wants to leave. He has said it, hasn’t he? But at the end of the day what he has said is okay, but he has signed a new contract in good faith only two months ago,” he added.

“I have only been here seven or eight days and he has only trained a little bit with us before he pulled his calf muscle, so he has not hung around to see if he likes me or not - he has just said he wants to leave.

“At the moment, it is in their hands to make their first approach. It will be speculated about until January is finished.

“I would probably think that if we considered Santa Cruz might be available then there would be a lot more clubs wanting to buy him than Manchester City.

“At the moment, we are resisting that and just trying to get him fit to play for us and see where we go from there. Gaining fitness is the most important thing as far as we are concerned.”

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