JUNIOR Hoilett is understood to be attracting interest from Italy as he nears the end of his Blackburn Rovers contract – but Steve Kean has not given up on the Canadian remaining at Ewood Park.
Hoilett’s Rovers deal expires at the end of June and talks over a new contract stalled some time ago.
The 21-year-old is unlikely to commit his future to Rovers while the possibility of relegation hangs over Ewood and FIFA rules allow the player to talk to overseas clubs in the final six months of his deal.
Hoilett was already known to have interest from Germany, where he spent loan spells in his younger days with Paderborn and St Pauli.
Bayern Munich are reported to be among the clubs eager to sign the forward and it is now understood that Hoilett has also received interest from Italy, increasing his options as he decides his future.
The Rovers star is permitted to sign a pre-contract with an overseas club at any time – he cannot talk to English sides until the end of the season – and will think carefully about his options.
Hoilett is said to be willing to consider all possibilities, including a new deal at Rovers, before making a decision that will benefit his career for the long term.
Tottenham, Newcastle and Liverpool have also been linked, while Rovers’ relegation rivals Bolton made their interest known in January.
Hoilett was forced to limp off early in the second half of Saturday’s win over QPR but Kean revealed after the match that he had suffered only a kick to the calf and the hope was that the injury was not serious, with Rovers not in action again until their trip to Manchester City on February 25.
Hoilett set up a goal for Steven Nzonzi at the weekend and then saw his shot deflected into the net by defender Nedum Onuoha for Rovers’ third, with Kean believing the starlet has shown a real revival in form in recent weeks - having possibly been distracted by talk about his future early in the January transfer window.
And the Scot insists he has not given up hope that Hoilett will agree to sign a new deal at Ewood if Rovers remain in the top flight.
“Not at all, no,” Kean said.
“We would like to think that the way that he’s playing, he’s been playing with a spring in his step and he’s back to the form that he had before the transfer window opened so we’ve not given up on that.
“There’s no reason why moving forward we can’t agree something that we can get pen put to paper on the appropriate time.
“I think what he’s got to do is just forget about everything, and just make sure he’s playing and performing the way he is.
“We’ve not given up and if it gets to the end of the season and we are where we think we’re going to be, there’s no reason why Junior can’t agree a contract with us.”