Blackburn ready for fight to keep Samba

Blackburn Rovers remain determined to keep hold of captain Christopher Samba despite the player himself voicing his desire to join Arsenal, according to manager Steve Kean.

The 27-year-old centre-back has been a revelation since arriving at Ewood Park for the paltry sum of £450,000 in 2007, and his towering performances at the heart of Blackburn's defence last term proved decisive as the club eventually secured their Premier League status.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is thought to have been impressed by Samba’s consistently dominating displays in the Premier League and identified him as a top target as he looks to strengthen the Gunners’ brittle defence over the summer.

Samba himself recently revealed his enthusiasm for the proposed move, but Kean is adamant Blackburn have neither the obligation nor the desire to part with their star players.

“We don’t have to sell him,” the Scot told talkSPORT. “He signed a five-year contract in the last window and he’s one of the players we would like keep.

“I said earlier this year you are always going to have interest in your good players. It means they’re playing well and you’re playing well as a team.

“But we are going to try and hold on to all our good players."

Anuradha Desai, chairperson of the Venky's group who own Blackburn, admitted that Samba is keen to join the North Londoners but believes the club can persuade him to stay for at least another year.

"We don't want to let Chris go," she told the Mail on Sunday. "I'm confident that we can keep him and I hope he'll stay.

"I know he has an ambition to play for Arsenal but I hope we can keep him for another year at least and prove our own ambition."

By Liam Twomey