Allardyce wants Santa Cruz to remain at Blackburn

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has resolved his issues with Roque Santa Cruz and has told the striker he wants him to keep him at the club.

The Paraguay international gave an interview on the eve of Allardyce's first match in charge in which he said if a "better or an ambitious club" came in for him he would like to join them.

Santa Cruz missed Saturday's 3-0 victory at home to Stoke with a calf injury - likely to keep him out of the Boxing Day trip to Sunderland - but Allardyce said at the time he would deal with the player in due course.

Having spoken with Santa Cruz, the Rovers boss is now happy the situation has been resolved.

"We've had the discussion and I just said the timing I thought was very poor," said Allardyce.

"He should have not done that interview. It was not certainly set up by this football club, which was disappointing.

"Obviously I felt it was slightly sinister, the timing of it, but we have resolved that and I have told him I don't want him to leave and that is probably the end of it."

All season Santa Cruz has been linked with a reunion with Manchester City manager Mark Hughes, the man who signed him for Rovers from Bayern Munich in summer 2007.

Since Allardyce took over last Wednesday there have been suggestions the striker, who could command a fee between £15-£20million, would be offloaded to generate necessary funds for squad rebuilding.

But the former Bolton and Newcastle manager said that was not the case.

"You can never be 100% about anything in this game but I haven't come here to sell my best players," he stressed.

Midfielder David Dunn believes some of the criticism levelled at Santa Cruz has been unfair.

The 27-year-old has struggled to regain the form which saw him score 23 goals in his debut season but Dunn said that was not for want of trying.

"Roque is such a good genuine lad. He has been playing with injuries which he shouldn't have been doing," said Dunn.

"He wanted to help the cause and help us get out of the mess. He is one of those guys who is a top lad, always tries his best and is not a bad egg around the place.

"He is 100% committed the cause. I had a chat with him last night about this and will be fine with it."

Dunn admitted that, with Rovers struggling in 19th place in the Barclays Premier League, if an offer from a bigger club came in it would have to be considered.

"Let's be fair, if one of those top four or a top club do come in for him I'm sure the club will make the right decision on what is best for Blackburn Rovers," he added.

"Whether it happens in January, a year down the line or three years down the line, while he is at this football club Roque Santa Cruz will always do his best for it."

One player who has left the club is former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, whose contract will not be renewed after the expiration of his three-month deal signed under former boss Paul Ince.

The services of former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn, also brought in by Ince as a part-time defensive coach, have also been dispensed with.

"I spoke to Nigel today to say, from my point of view in terms of specialist coaching defensively-wise, I think I can look after that basic area now," said Allardyce.