The future of the Blackburn Rovers captain, Chris Samba, looked uncertain last night after the player did not show up yesterday for training or for a meeting designed to clear the air with his manager Steve Kean.
Samba called in sick, though it seems his goodwill towards Rovers has gone completely, after a half-season in which none of the promises about Blackburn's ambition that were put to him in the summer have been fulfilled.
Rovers' Indian owners, Venky's, who now appear ready to consider a bid of the right order for the club, are believed to want around £18m for Samba, who is their prime playing asset. He favours a move to Paris St-Germain, since the French capital is his family's base – and where he goes during breaks from his Premier League responsibilities.
Samba is in the Rovers squad to face Fulham at Ewood Park today, though it is doubtful that he will play. Kean has already dropped him once this season, claiming his state of mind was not right, though doing so again will carry risks.
In the 2-1 home defeat by Stoke City on 2 January, Samba was a huge presence and without him, Kean risks seeing his bottom-of-the-table side deteriorate yet further.
QPR and Tottenham are both interested, though neither appear to be near a price to tempt Rovers, who have privately stated that he is not for sale. Kean has confirmed Rovers have rejected two bids.
This week, Samba told L'Equipe he wants a move to a "more ambitious" club and was critical of Venky's.
"Recently, mentally, it's been difficult for me," said Samba. "I have tried to keep up my levels of performance, but I feel the time has come for a change for me. The club is not changing at all."