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Page last updated at 18:57 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Allardyce holds Santa Cruz talks

Roque Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz has only found the net four times this season

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has told Roque Santa Cruz he wants him to stay despite calling the striker's remarks over his future "very poor timing".

Santa Cruz told BBC 5 Live last Friday, the day before Allardyce's first game, he would leave Ewood Park if a "better or an ambitious club" came in for him.

"Obviously I felt it was slightly sinister, the timing of it, but we have resolved that," Allardyce said.

"I've told him I don't want him to leave. That is probably the end of it."

Santa Cruz has been linked all season with a reunion with Manchester City manager Mark Hughes, the man who signed him for Rovers from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2007.

I don't want to miss the chance of playing with a big side

Roque Santa Cruz

Since Allardyce took over at Rovers last Wednesday there have been suggestions the Paraguayan striker, who could command a fee of between 15m and 20m, would be offloaded in January to generate necessary funds for squad rebuilding.

But the former Bolton and Newcastle manager said that was not the case.

"You can never be 100% about anything in this game but I haven't come here to sell my best players," he stressed.

Santa Cruz, 27, hinted he is keen to move on to a bigger club.

"I would really like to keep improving and performing better than I am doing right now," Santa Cruz told the BBC.

"And if a better or an ambitious club come in and want to offer me the chance I would like to take it."

Santa Cruz admitted it would hard for him to leave Ewood Park, however.

"My contract with Blackburn is clear and for that I need to continue with the club.

"But I am looking to again play in a big side that is in Europe and trying to win their league.

"I have to say the people here at Blackburn are fantastic. I am very happy with the fans, but I don't want to miss the chance of playing with a big side.

"I also understand the interests of Blackburn as well and they do not want to lose players. I want to watch out for myself but I have to think of Blackburn. It is a very hard decision."

Blackburn rejected a bid from Manchester City in August, and subsequently tied Santa Cruz to a new deal until 2012.

The striker has only scored four goals this season compared to last term, when he found the net 23 times.

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see also
'Near perfect' Rovers delight Allardyce
20 Dec 08 |  Match of the Day
Blackburn 3-0 Stoke
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Allardyce 'does not have to sell'
18 Dec 08 |  Blackburn
Lowly Blackburn sack manager Ince
16 Dec 08 |  Blackburn
Santa Cruz signs new Rovers deal
22 Aug 08 |  Blackburn
Man City fail in Santa Cruz bid
14 Aug 08 |  Blackburn

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