Chris Samba Hands In Transfer Request

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Chris Samba of Blackburn Rovers protests to Referee Lee Mason after he disallowed a goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City at Ewood Park on January 2, 2012 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Blackburn Rovers captain Chris Samba has requested he be allowed to leave Ewood Park this January.

Blackburn Rovers centre back Chris Samba has handed in a transfer request, confirming days of speculation that the Congolese defender was looking to move on following a turbulent season. The 27-year-old, was initially rebuffed by manager Steve Kean, for whom he remains a vital part of the club's battle to escape relegation this season, but the message Samba sent in response was crystal-clear:

I have today officially requested a transfer from Blackburn Rovers Football Club. I have personally informed the owners, manager and executives at the club that I want to leave in this transfer window.

In my five years at Blackburn Rovers Football Club I have always given 100 per cent in every game I have played. I have had several opportunities to leave but I have always stayed.

I have decided now is the right time for me to pursue a new challenge and I have asked the club to respect my decision and allow me to leave. I thank the fans for their support and I hope they feel I have served them and their club well.

Handing in a transfer request is all well and good - Queens Park Rangers-shaped sharks are beginning to circle underneath the Blackburn boat as we speak in anticipation of a tasty new central defender - but they're not binding. Samba is under contract until 2015, and Rovers are under zero pressure whatsoever to sell. Someone will have to come up with a fairly large bid to get him to move away.

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