Rovers no longer looking for marquee signings

MUMBAI - Blackburn Rovers are looking for a couple of strikers and some midfielders but are not chasing the types of big names they were linked with last season, the Indian owners of the Premier League club told Reuters on Thursday.

Since poultry giant Venky's took over last year, Blackburn have pursued former England captain David Beckham and Brazilian Ronaldinho and despite being unsuccessful in those attempts, their ambitions have led fans to expect a spending spree soon.

While the purse strings will be loosened to strengthen the team after they narrowly avoided relegation, there will be no marquee signing, Venky's director Balaji Rao (pictured, left) said.

"I am not into any name game. I want to concentrate on the proper game and get ahead. We are buying one or two strikers and a few midfielders," Rao said in a telephone interview.

"We have to pump in money if we have to buy players. But I can't disclose the amount. The money that came out from Phil Jones' transfer is also there for the club and will be used in the transfers."

England Under-21 defender Jones moved to champions Manchester United last month for what British media reported was around 17 million pounds.

Blackburn, who won the Premier League in 1995, endured a nail-biting end to last season as they secured their top-flight status with victory on the final day.


"I am happy with how the club came out of relegation. The players fought very well," Rao said.

"The boys are really trying hard and they are doing the best they can. We are also happy with coach Steve Kean. He has brought the team together."

Rao added that the owners planned a long-term involvement with the club from the Lancashire mill town.

"This is a life-time association. My son is also very interested with it and will take over soon when he grows up," he said. "He is 17 and will be on the board when he becomes 21."

Blackburn will tour India for three days starting on July 21 before travelling to Hong Kong for a four-team tournament, also featuring Chelsea and Aston Villa, as they prepare for next season.

In India, Blackburn will take part in a four-city tournament during which two Indian boys will be chosen to attend two weeks of training at the club's academy in England.

"I want to build a big fan base for Blackburn Rovers in India," said Rao, whose Pune-based company makes products like chicken nuggets.

"Within one-and-a-half years we are coming up with an academy and a stadium in Pune. It will be known as Blackburn Academy Pune."