Saturday 20 January 2018

Blackburn's owners left red-faced over Ronaldinho Twitter claim

Mark Ogden

Ronaldinho has become the central figure in the latest embarrassment to befall Blackburn Rovers' Indian owners, Venkys, following a Twitter leak suggesting they would offer the AC Milan forward a £6m-a-year deal -- just as he was set to fly to Brazil for talks with Gremio.

Venkys, the poultry producers who completed their takeover at Ewood Park in November, have overseen a controversial two months at the club, with manager Sam Allardyce being sacked last month and the farcical detention of two chickens in a police cell at the ground last week after a supporters' demonstration against the new owners.

Concerns over the influence of SEM, the sports management agency, on transfer strategy at Ewood Park have also been raised, with Allardyce's exit coming after he asked to sign Ireland striker Robbie Keane and was instead provided with a list of possible alternative signings including former Hull City midfielder Geovanni and Middlesbrough's out-of-form striker Kris Boyd.

Claims by Venkys that Blackburn can challenge for a top-five finish this season have also led to ridicule, as has the appointment of rookie manager Steve Kean in place of Allardyce, a proven operator in the Premier League.

The statement on Venkys' Twitter page said: "Venkys trying hard to get Ronaldinho for 2 years contract. Offered €7.2m as salary per year to Mr Assis."

But Ronaldinho arrived in Brazil last night to open talks over a return to Gremio, his home-town club.

Ronaldinho's agent, Roberto de Assis, left the door ajar, however, by admitting that a deal had not yet been finalised. "We are not ruling anything out," he said.

Although Venkys co-owner Venkatesh Rao admitted privately last night that Blackburn are unlikely to sign Ronaldinho, club sources have confirmed a big-name player is high on the agenda of the owners. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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