Kean: Samba is not for sale
Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean has said Christopher Samba Veijeany will have to prove his dedication to the club to remain captain at Ewood Park if he fails to secure a transfer move.
Defensive linchpin Samba has rocked struggling Rovers after handing in a transfer request, but Blackburn are sticking doggedly to the line that the centre-half will not be sold in the January window.
Kean held talks with Samba earlier this week, and revealed that the player would be able to keep the armband provided he demonstrated his commitment to the cause. However Kean, who is preparing his side for a difficult away trip to Everton on Saturday, was adamant Samba would not be granted his wish to leave.
"I spoke with him yesterday and he knows he is not for sale. The day before he handed in a transfer request, that has been refused and we won't welcome any more bids and Chris knows the stance of the club," Kean said. "It is never nice when somebody hands in a transfer request, but hopefully we can now move on."
Asked about whether Samba would remain his captain, Kean replied: "If he's playing and performing well and still wants to be at the club, yes."
Kean, meanwhile, is hoping that Anthony Modeste may play a role against Everton when he concludes his loan from Bordeaux. Modeste signed for Bordeaux in August 2010 and has made 59 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit, but has recently fallen behind former Manchester United and Sunderland forward David Bellion in the pecking order.
"We've got permission to bring him in on loan. He's a good age and he's got a lot to prove," Kean said. "He went to Bordeaux on a sizeable fee, but we're bringing him in on an initial loan and we hope if he impresses we can get something to keep him further on."
Blackburn will have to do without top scorer Yakubu who misses out on a return to former club Everton after the club decided not to appeal his red card against Fulham last week. Kean does have some concern at the back as well as with Samba a doubt, it remains to be seen if fellow centre-back Scott Dann will recover from a groin injury in time.
One man who knows all about central defensive problems is David Moyes who is without Sylvian Distin and Phil Jagielka at the heart of his back four with John Heitinga and the inexperienced Shane Duffy still the only recognised centre backs expected to be fit.
Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley, Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert and Jack Rodwell are other names missing but with Darron Gibson making his home debut and Landon Donovan in sterling form since his return to the club on loan, Everton do still have plenty of quality in midfield.
And assistant manager Steve Round praised the American midfielder and Gibson, who could be the key to getting Tim Cahill, who hasn't scored since December 2010, back among the goals as Everton look for their first league win since New Year's Day.
"Landon is a terrific player. You could call him world class. He's played all over the world and internationally. He's fit right back in at Everton," he said. "That's very important at Everton that he can be one of the gang and that works very well.
"With the added advantage of Darron Gibson, we will also have a wider range of passing from the midfield and he can also add five or six goals from midfield."