Rovers relieved to keep Roque
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce admitted his delight at hanging on to star striker Roque Santa Cruz.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 02/02/09 6:32pm
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has admitted his delight at managing to hang on to star striker Roque Santa Cruz.
Rovers rebuffed interest from big-spending Manchester City, who are believed to have offered up to £18million for the Paraguay international.
The former Bayern Munich man said in a newspaper interview in December that he wished to leave the club but Rovers have kept hold of the imposing forward for the battle to maintain their Premier League status.
"He expressed a wish to move on if a bigger club came in but the delicate stage I and the club was in, Roque was contracted to Blackburn Rovers and we felt it necessary to ask him to see it through," Allardyce told Sky Sports News.
"I must stress that, in this window, there was no clause in his contract whatsoever for him to leave Blackburn Rovers.
"Any offers that came in we looked at and resisted, and of course we're now very pleased that we've kept the squad together, with the addition of El Hadji Diouf and Gael Givet."
Allardyce revealed Blackburn have turned down some other deadline-day offers but declined to disclose any further details.
That means young striker Matt Derbyshire is the only man to leave Ewood Park during the January transfer window, joining Olympiakos on a six-month loan deal.
The recently-appointed Rovers boss is therefore confident his side are well equipped for the upcoming relegation battle.
"The most important thing was keeping the squad together," he said.
"It's a very good squad, a tight-knit squad, and I wanted to keep that unity.
"Myself and (chairman) John Williams have been working so hard in this window to make sure we've resisted any bids from anybody and we're really pleased that we've managed to do that.
"We've resisted a couple more offers today for other players and only Matt Derbyshire went out so that leaves us with a very strong squad to fight this fight to stay in the Premier League.
"I'm certainly relieved the transfer window has shut again."
Despite Derbyshire's departure, Allardyce feels he still has enough strike power to stay in the top flight.
"We've got three major strikers of Premier League quality in Jason Roberts, Benni McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz," he said.
"If we can create the chances then those three are going to be the main people that will allow us to get the goals to secure the victories we need between now and the end of the season.
"I think the rest of the team has worked very hard. Our defensive qualities have been excellent, we just need to convert a few more chances into goals and a few more draws into wins, and we can certainly do that with the strikeforce we've got."