Kean dampens Ronaldinho hopes as Samba looks for exit

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The Independent Online

Steve Kean admits it is unlikely that Blackburn Rovers will be successful in their ambitious attempt to sign Ronaldinho as the new owners of the club consider making an improved offer to Milan for the Brazilian.

"I don't know how likely it is to happen but over the last 24 hours it's become less likely than likely," said Kean. "I'm hearing he may want to go back to Brazil, but I don't know if anybody can afford him there."

But of more pressing concern for the Rovers manager is that captain Chris Samba has reiterated his desire to leave the club due to his unhappiness with the new owner, Venky's. "They arrived and fired the coach [Sam Allardyce] who saved us from relegation two years ago," Samba said. "The least they could have done is come to us and explain their project. They haven't done that which is a lack of respect. I don't want to be a part of it.I don't want to waste my time any more."

It was Anuradha Desai, the chair of Venky's, who revealed that they had made a bid for Ronaldinho, but Kean insisted that no one would be joining the club without his approval. "No player will walk through the doors here without my say-so," he said. "The chairwoman will back that up 100 per cent. There were certain boxes that needed to be ticked before we sign Ronaldinho, one of those boxes was that I would have to meet him – I haven't met him yet."

Desai added that they were considering making a better offer for Ronaldinho after other clubs had shown an interest in him: "We have already made a bid of €7.2m [£6.2m] and are negotiating whether to increase that because two other clubs are trying," she said.

Even if Ronaldinho does not join the club after being offered a three-year contract worth more than £20m, Kean stressed that while the short-term priority was to steady the current squad he expected big things soon under the new owners. "I think this transfer window will be about stabilising," he said. "I don't think it will be too far in the future that we are looking at a big name that in years gone by could have been very difficult to bring to our club."

The Brazilian forward, who only has six months remaining on his current contract at Milan, won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and Champions League with Barcelona in 2006. Yet Rovers, who play Liverpool tonight, have not seriously challenged for the league title since winning it in 1995, and are currently 11th in the table with only one win in their last five league matches.

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