Raul snub thwarts Blackburn's bid to land big-name star
Blackburn's Indian owners Venkys have failed in their latest attempt to lure a big-name signing, with Spanish striker Raul following David Beckham and Ronaldinho in rejecting the chance to move to the club.
Poultry processors Venkys, who completed their takeover at Blackburn last November, were given permission by German club Schalke to discuss terms with Raul after lodging a £3m bid for the former Real Madrid forward yesterday morning.
Although they progressed to last season's Champions League semi-final, Schalke are understood to have financial problems and were prepared to sell after a breakdown in the player's relationship with coach Ralf Rangnick.
But despite the 34-year-old's close friendship with Blackburn defender Michel Salgado, a former team-mate at the Bernabeu, Raul has told Schalke that he has no interest in moving to Ewood Park -- 12 months after rejecting an attempt by Sam Allardyce, the club's former boss, to sign him from Real.
Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt said: "The player has told us that he does not want to leave Schalke, so the matter is closed. We have rejected Blackburn's offer."
Raul's decision to turn down Blackburn's offer of a two-year deal worth in the region of £70,000 a week is the latest blow to Venkys' ambitions of luring a high-profile player to the club.
But having earned ridicule following their failed attempts to sign Beckham and Ronaldinho from AC Milan in January, when the former Barcelona player had made it clear from the outset that he was only interested in a return to Brazil, Venkys had been keen to work patiently behind the scenes in their bid to sign Raul.
The Blackburn owners had been given encouragement that Raul was keen to move to Ewood Park and it is understood that senior figures suspect their offer was made public in Germany in an effort to prompt rival interest in the player.
Despite early promises by Venkys of substantial funds being made available to boss Steve Kean to sign established players this summer, the arrivals have been limited to the £2m purchase of Dundee United forward David Goodwillie and low-budget signings Radosav Petrovic and Myles Anderson.
The £16.5m banked from the sale of Phil Jones to Manchester United has yet to be reinvested, while Chris Samba is expected to be sold before the transfer deadline.
With the lack of new arrivals, manager Kean admits that reinforcements are required quickly. "We need at least one centre-half, maybe two. We need another midfielder and another striker. That's at least four," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)