Blackburn captain Chris Samba hands in transfer request

 

Christopher Samba has confirmed he wants to leave Blackburn before the end of the current transfer window.

Speculation about Samba's future has increased in the past few days after he was last week quoted in French sports newspaper L'Equipe saying that his club, who have been struggling near the bottom of the Barclays Premier League all season, "doesn't evolve at all", that "things have not gone as I was told" and that he felt it was "time for a change".

The defender has been linked with Tottenham, QPR and Paris St Germain, and Rovers manager Steve Kean revealed on Thursday that two bids for the player - believed to be from QPR - had been turned down.

The Scot also stressed that Samba was not for sale, but the 27-year-old club captain today handed in a transfer request, making clear his desire to quit Ewood Park as soon as possible.

In a statement released by his management company, Samba said: "I have today officially requested a transfer from Blackburn Rovers Football Club.

"I have personally informed the owners, manager and executives at the club that I want to leave in this transfer window.

"In my five years at Blackburn Rovers Football Club I have always given 100% in every game I have played. I have had several opportunities to leave but I have always stayed.

"I have decided now is the right time for me to pursue a new challenge and I have asked the club to respect my decision and allow me to leave.

"I thank the fans for their support and I hope they feel I have served them and their club well."

On Saturday Blackburn moved off the foot of the table and out of the relegation zone with a 3-1 victory at home against Fulham, a game which was preceded by an organised protest by a section of Rovers fans against the club's owners, Venky's.

Samba did not feature in the squad for the match, although afterwards Kean said it was because the France-born Congolese centre-back had complained of severe stomach cramps.

He then expressed his hope that his skipper would be available for next weekend's trip to Everton, but it now appears as if Samba is headed for the exit.

Samba joined Blackburn - who were managed at the time by newly-appointed QPR boss Mark Hughes - in 2007, and last February signed a new contract to keep him at Rovers until 2015.

Speaking ahead of the Fulham fixture, Kean said it was a deal he wanted to see Samba "respect".

Asked what he could do about the Samba situation in light of the quotes in L'Equipe, the Scot said: "You can ask the player to respect his contract - I don't think you make contracts for any other reason than to show your commitment to the player, and you would then like the player to show that back to the club.

"There have been situations (before) where there have been bids for Chris, and there have been a number of times when he has shown a desire to leave and it hasn't happened for whatever reason.

"I think the club has always fought to try to keep him - we want to keep our best players."

He added: "You would have to ask Chris what he thinks, in terms of whether promises have been broken in his opinion and what they were.

"All I can say is that he has been excellent when he has played, he is a big player for us and he is not long in to a very long contract, so I hope that he stays here."

PA

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