Belfast Telegraph

Blackburn Rovers: Second assistant quits on Kean

By Ian Herbert

The Blackburn Rovers manager, Steve Kean, has suffered the indignity of losing his second assistant in four months and there will be no money for a replacement after the departure of Paul Clement to Paris St-Germain.

The Independent reported that Clement had already left Rovers' Brockhall training ground yesterday, having agreed a three-year deal with the French club and cleared his possessions during a two-day break for the players. It appears that he has had to force the move by handing in his notice, with Rovers reluctant to see him go. But the prospect of a reunion with Carlo Ancelotti at the Parisian club awash with Qatari wealth is a far cry from Blackburn, where the desire to drive costs down even further will see first-team coach Ian Brunskill taking on Clement's job and no new recruitment to Kean's support team.

Clement, 39, who worked as assistant to Ancelotti at Chelsea, replaced John Jensen, who, to the surprise of Kean, was sacked in September. He and Kean had established a good working relationship and the decision not to replace him reflects the dire financial outlook at Ewood Park. With the owners Venky's now willing to listen to offers for the club, attempts by local MP Jack Straw and others concerned for the future to elicit information about the company's plans continue to be frustrated. There has been no response to emails to India laying out the three options open to them – invest now, rebuild from the Championship next season or sell up – and the only factor preventing the club losing its prime playing asset, the defender Chris Samba, is the high price the Indian owners place on him.

Their £15m tag is highly unrealistic, for all Samba's abilities, and though Tottenham Hotspur and QPR have been linked with him, no one is likely to be attracted at that price. The Ewood management, which does not have any control over the club, is determined to hold on to the 27-year-old, without whom relegation appears to be more likely.

Junior Hoilett is another who could depart, with Tottenham aware of his ability and Rovers willing to sell a player whose deal expires in the summer, though £7m may be a high price. Michel Salgado, Jason Roberts and Keith Andrews are all expected to be sold as Rovers seek to lower the high wage bill. Kean has been made aware that no significant permanent signings will be possible during the transfer window.

Kean's own position appears to remain secure, though the only reason he has been able to brave poor results and the tide of opposition to him is the owners' acceptance that they cannot afford the compensation they would have to pay or the large salary needed to entice any replacement to the precarious task of preserving Premier League football at Ewood Park.

Belfast Telegraph


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