Belfast Telegraph

Rovers in hunt for new striker

Blackburn chairman John Williams says the club will step up the search for a striker after agreeing a new long-term deal with highly-regarded young French midfielder Steven Nzonzi.

Nzonzi was the club's player of the year in his first season after arriving from Amiens, and the 21-year-old has signed an improved five-year contract which will keep him at Ewood Park until June 2015.

Williams said: "We are delighted to secure Steven for the long term. He was outstanding last year - his first in this country - and the new deal is richly deserved. We hope he makes further progress and continues the fantastic form that impressed so many people last season."

He added: "Along with the new contracts also agreed with the likes of Phil Jones, Martin Olsson and Grant Hanley, and the important re-contracting of Morten Gamst Pedersen, this represents further good progress for the club this summer.

"However, there is still business to be done. We remain determined to secure a new striker and I can assure all our supporters that our search continues in earnest in that regard."

Meanwhile, Blackburn's owners will want definite proof of investment plans before they agree to any takeover of the club.

A number of parties have expressed interest in buying the club, with a company run by wealthy Indian businessman Ahasan Ali Syed yesterday confirming a formal approach.

The Jack Walker Trustees will consider selling the club but only if future investment can be guaranteed - Syed is reported to be promising to clear the club's £20million debt and invest £300million to sustain the club over a long period of time.

Syed's investment company Western Gulf Advisory (WGA) made a formal approach to Blackburn's advisers at investment bank Rothschild. WGA have a non-disclosure agreement about the talks but a company spokeswoman said: "I can confirm that we made a formal approach to buy Blackburn Rovers."

Williams added: "There have been a number of interested parties for some time and discussions are ongoing."

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