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ANDY CRYER COLUMN: It is tough keeping wantaway players
I AM not surprised most of Blackburn Rovers supporters have greeted Venky’s plans to keep most of their squad together next season with incredulity. I am the same.
I actually don’t doubt they want to keep their top players, once Junior Hoilett and Yakubu have gone, but that is going to be far easier said than done.
We only have to go back a few months to the Chris Samba situation. The player wanted out but Venky’s dug their heels in and said ‘not for sale’.
The stalemate continued for weeks, with Samba left training with the reserves, until the big defender was sold outside the transfer window. Player power won again.
That will be Venky’s big problem this summer if they look to keep hold of their best players, especially if these players, as has been indicated, want to quit East Lancashire.
The last thing we want is for the likes of Steven Nzonzi, Martin Olsson and even Paul Robinson to be sold late into the summer – leaving the club little time to replace the departures.
Venky’s need to face facts. They need to realise they are not a Premier League club any more and their ‘top stars’ will demand moves. It is naive for any club to believe they can keep a player if his heart is set on a move.
That is why I would sell players who have stated their desire to quit the club to the highest bidder as soon as possible.
They also need to be realistic about prices. Holding out for too much would leave the club with a player who doesn’t want to be here and no funds to replace him.
This is all assuming Venky’s will give Steve Kean the funds to strengthen in the transfer market. Going on past experience, there is no guarantee of that.
Incredibly no real work seems to have been done this close season yet. As it is, you would have to say Rovers’ squad stands little chance of winning promotion back into the Premier League.
Add to that the inevitable departures of Hoilett and Yakubu, as well as the likes of Martin Olsson and Nzonzi wanting away, and Rovers have a major rebuilding job on their hands.
You can’t help feeling that six or seven new signings are needed at least. I don’t mean random players who we have never heard of either.
We need experienced players capable of hitting the ground running in the rough and tumble of the Championship.
So far, Venky’s have miserably failed in the transfer market and the job ahead of them this summer is bigger than one they have ever faced before.
Unless a real budget is handed to the manager to strengthen, they can forget promotion.
It would also leave us all once more questioning why on earth they bothered to buy the football club.
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