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Should Christopher Samba Follow Phil Jones Out Of Blackburn?

Photo by timsnell

In many sports the old adage is defense wins champions. Although Blackburn has struggled to be in the top half of the table recently, their defense was a key to avoiding relegation. With the departure of Phil Jones to Manchester United, can Blackburn lose another key defensive player?

In my eyes, Christopher Samba was Blackburn’s best player last season. I’ll admit I haven’t watched many Blackburn games over the course of the previous season, but he seemed to shine in the few that I did watch. One game I recall that he was immense in was late in the year against Manchester City. Blackburn did lose that game, but Samba gave a man of the match performance. He put in perfectly timed tackles and blocks as well as being a threat when attacking.

If Samba were to leave, with Arsenal heading the queue for his services, it would be a huge loss especially paired with his defensive partner’s departure to Man United. Blackburn don’t necessarily have to sell and manager Steve Kean made this very clear. “We don’t have to sell him. He signed a five-year contract in the last window,” said Kean. “He’s one of the players we would like to keep.”

However, to me Kean’s comments are a little bit hypocritical. Kean, speaking of Jones said, “It was difficult with Phil because he got the opportunity to go to Manchester United and he wanted to play Champions League football now and we’re not there yet.” Granted, you don’t want to lose two defenders, let alone starting defenders in the same window, but that doesn’t strike me as fair to Samba.

Samba has made clear his ambitions to play on a team competing for titles rather than one staving off relegation. He said, “For four-and-a-half years I have been at Blackburn and fought against relegation.” He also went on to add,  “If a good opportunity presents itself, I want to take it. I hope the club will understand if I want to make the step up and not prevent a deal.”

Samba does have a contract until 2015, but contracts these days don’t hold the weight they used to. The new contract could very well have been for Blackburn to get a higher fee when he is eventually sold.

As much as Kean and Blackburn fans may want to keep him, is it really worth keeping a player who wants to be somewhere else? I think if Samba is really intent on leaving, selling him sooner rather than later is in the club’s best interest.

Selling him now will allow them to find a suitable replacement. So far, Samba hasn’t put in a transfer request, but if he does the situation may get a little ugly although Blackburn still won’t have to sell him. However, they may not want a sulking player in their squad in a team hoping to improve from last year’s poor form.

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  1. darren

    June 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I think the lad needs to move on as he is one of the best defenders in the league. Going to one of the top 6 clubs will do him a world of good and help him win trophies which every footballers wants to do. This is the right time for him at 27 as its his peak time so a move would be a good thing. Blackburn could get at least 12 mill for him so they can also rebuild their team. Samba deserves the chance.

  2. graham

    June 25, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Just a quick comment to nicks point ‘why would he waste the better stages of his career not winning anything at arsenal when he has and will never win anything with Blackburn atleast he wont be trying to avoid relegation every season

  3. IanCransonsKnees

    June 25, 2011 at 3:19 am

    If he does then you cannot see Ryan Nelson wanting to hang around.

  4. r.waterfall

    June 24, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Jones is good, but which would you rather have in your team for next season?I would have Samba.
    I know Jones is younger but potential doesn’t always work out.
    If I were Kean, I would tell Samba that Blackburn owners regard him as better than Jones, therefor he will only be allowed to break his contract if a club offers a better deal than the Man U./jones one.
    Problem solved, Arsenal must stop being cheapscates if they want the best International players.
    Arsenal seem to expect to receive many more £millions when selling, but expect to buy better players on the cheap. No wonder they keep missing out on key transfers (and silverware)

  5. GiovaNYC

    June 24, 2011 at 8:55 am

    He was pushed hard as captain to sign the contract when the club looked like it could go down and they desperately needed him not to go, which he threatened to do when Sam was let go. Who knows what promises were made. In any case, as the post says, his value in trade is now higher due to the 5-yr contract.

    Aresenal are cheapskates, but they are under tremendous pressure to buy, and they have the money available. Blackburn are probably just driving up the price. If not to Arsenal, there are other teams with money and the desire for a quality center back.

  6. AlexSchneider

    June 24, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Give me a break… Steve Kean is a joke of a manager, a mumbling idiot who was appointed on a whim by the new owners who themselves seem like they don’t know what they are doing. The club was in mid-table when they took over but then nearly got themselves relegated. I fully understand Samba: why would you want to play for a club like that, for owners like that and for a manager who clearly is not up to managing in the Premier League? Consider his situation: he’s 27-28 year old, at the peak of his powers, one of the better center halves in the league. Would he want to waste his best years at Blackburn?! Yes, he signed a contract, but so what? He couldn’t foresee what a joke this club will become by the end of the season…

    I say, Rovers should get a good fee for him around £12-13 million and then move on and look for replacements. With Jones and Samba gone, they will have £30-35 million in the bank at least. That should be enough to buy half a team, let alone two decent centre backs. But with Kean at the helm… good luck.

    • BrainK

      June 24, 2011 at 7:44 am

      Rovers were clearly is a worse and more embarrassing position when Samba signed the contract than they were by the end of the season or now

    • Nick

      June 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      One thing you cannot cannot call Kean is a mumbling idiot. He speaks with great clarity and was targeted by Chelsea as a coach, so he must have some ability. As a young British manager he needs to be given a chance.
      As for Samba I’d get rid of him now for 15-18 million. If he wants to waste his best years winning nothing at Arsenal let him go.

  7. Brears

    June 24, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Agreed if he wants to go to a CL club then we shouldn’t stop him. This is provided the club’s valuation is met. This will involve Wenger putting his hand in his pocket and making a reasonable offer rather than playing games. After all isn’t this what Aresenal are whinging about with Barca and Fabregas who clearly doesnt want to be at Arsenal next year?

  8. James

    June 24, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Whilst there’s similarity between Jones and Samba wanting out of Ewood Park, the main difference is that Jones had a clause triggering such whilst I’ve heard nothing indicating Samba has the same.

    He’s the captain for a reason, though, and he was immense during the run in. I understand that he wants an opportunity to play with a bigger club and if he keeps pressing he may just get it. Part of me says let him move on if he wants out so bad, but part of me also wants him and other core members of the club to give the new members a shot before making this decision.

    • James

      June 24, 2011 at 7:33 am

      *Give the new owners a shot, I mean.

  9. estebanrey

    June 24, 2011 at 7:26 am

    David Hoilett was Blackburn’s player of the season.

    • BrainK

      June 24, 2011 at 7:42 am

      Rubbish. Samba was far more consistent and important

    • James

      June 24, 2011 at 7:51 am

      I think this went to Paul Robinson.

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