BLACKBURN Rovers will face a summer battle to keep hold of fans’ favourite Gael Givet – even if they manage to salvage their Premier League status.
The Frenchman’s former club Monaco are understood to be ready to launch an attempt to lure him back ‘home’, while there is also interest from the top flight in France and the Premier League.
Rovers boss Steve Kean though insists all talks about the future are on hold while the club fight to secure Premier League survival.
Owners Venky’s were in attendance at Ewood Park to see Tuesday’s defeat at home to Liverpool but Kean was adamant survival remains the only focus.
Givet will be hoping for a return to Rovers’ starting line-up in tomorrow’s crucial trip to Swansea City, with midweek results leaving Kean’s men three points adrift of safety.
Sources close to the player, while insisting he is fully focused on the relegation battle ahead, have told the Lancashire Telegraph Givet would consider pursuing a new challenge next season - with a return to France on the radar.
Monaco failed in an attempt to sign their former player last summer but, after a disappointing season in the second tier of French football, are set to move again for Givet - who enjoyed seven years there from 2000.
He is understood to prefer a move to a top flight club either in England or France though, with several suitors believed to be tracking his situation with interest.
Givet has surprisingly been left on Rovers’ substitutes bench over the last couple of games upon his return from injury and suspension, with Kean persevering with Scott Dann and Grant Hanley in the centre of the defence.
The Rovers boss though only last week stressed Givet will have a key role to play in the relegation run-in, with the 30-year-old expected to make a first team return at the Liberty Stadium.
The 2010 player’s player of the season’s versatility is likely to be called upon, with Kean having the option to use him at left back or centre back in Wales tomorrow.
Rovers will fight to keep hold of Givet at Ewood this summer although relegation would inevitably bring his future into even greater doubt.
Should the worst happen, Rovers know a number of their top players - including Junior Hoilett, Steven Nzonzi, Martin Olsson, Yakubu and Paul Robinson - will come under greater scrutiny from rivals.
Kean said about Venky’s visit: “We had a board meeting that had been scheduled for three months.What we've always felt is that it was right to wait and get the points sorted out.
“Then we can decide who's going to be coming in and who's going out. We need to concentrate on the remaining games and getting the points required.
“Then, at the end of the season, we can sit down and have discussions about budgets, who we can bring in and who will be going out.”
Wins for Wigan and QPR on Wednesday night leave Rovers three points adrift of safety with just five games to play, ahead of tomorrow’s trip to the Liberty Stadium.
"We have Chelsea and Tottenham away, but we also feel we can get something from Swansea this weekend, said Kean.
“The two home games, against Norwich and Wigan, as well as away at Swansea, are the ones where we will be looking to pick up most of our points from.
“The other two,Chelsea and Tottenham, will be tough games. The one against Wigan is looking like a really big one. The TV people have already realised that, which is why they have made it a Monday night game. It's going to be huge."