Samba plea surprises Kean
Blackburn boss Steve Kean will discuss Christopher Samba's future with the Rovers captain today after learning he has been asking to leave the club for a year.
Kean was confirmed as manager until the end of the season yesterday after flying out to India for a meeting with executives of the club's owners, Venky's. The 43-year-old, who was promoted from first-team coach following the surprise sacking of Sam Allardyce and assistant Neil McDonald last week, returned to England last night and was greeted by headlines declaring Samba no longer wanted to play for Rovers.
The 26-year-old defender, who has been at the club for almost four years, is the latest player to publicly criticise Blackburn and their Indian owners following the departure of Allardyce. Kean spoke to Samba's agent yesterday and was shocked to discover the captain, who may not have played in the Boxing Day clash with Stoke anyway because of an ankle problem, had been looking for a way out of the club for the last 12 months.
"I'll speak to Chris this morning," said Kean. "His agent's been telling me he's been asking to leave the club for a year. That's been news to me. I wasn't privy to any of that information but if he has been asking to get away for a year and he still wants to leave, then if somebody comes and matches the offer that we think he's worth and he's going to move on, then I'll need to speak to Chris about that in person.
"I'm disappointed if he has been quoted without speaking to anyone at the club. I spoke to the chairman last night and he's definitely not handed in a written transfer request and he's not made a verbal transfer request to anybody. Maybe he's a little bit annoyed or a little bit confused about the way the club's going. Like everybody else, I'll sit him down and tell him what the plans are."
Venky's only took over at Ewood Park a month ago but their decision to sack Allardyce after two years in which he had turned Rovers from relegation candidates into a midtable club has drawn strong criticism from inside and outside Ewood Park. However, after talking to the owners in India, Kean could not be more positive about the direction in which the club is going and claimed there are "exciting times" ahead.
He continued: "It was nice the owners put out the release that I'm manager until the end of this season at least, so hopefully we can finish in a nice strong position and hopefully go from strength to strength. I had a really good meeting with the owners. They let me into their plan for the club, certainly this transfer window. They really want to invest in the team, they want to improve the squad and they want to finish as high as we can.
"That was the main reason why I went there so I could meet the players and put across whatever the plan was going to be. I'm pleased to say it's a positive message we can give back. It's very exciting times for the club."