Samba had initially claimed that he was close to joining Arsenal in January however the deal fell through very much at the last hurdle, but sources now claim that the 27 year old shall be joining Arsenal at the end of June. This has nudged Steve Kean and the Blackburn board into action as they try to find an immediate replacement with Birmingham’s Roger Johnson top of their list.
The former Cardiff City defender has been at Birmingham since 2009 and as well as lifting the Carling Cup this year, has made some demanding performances at the back despite their relegation to the Championship.
There is competition for Johnson though and Blackburn will do well to beat the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and even Arsenal themselves, however those links are not particularly strong and Alex McLeish is likely to accept a bid upwards of £6m should Rovers be content that Johnson is the right man to replace Samba.
One negative for Blackburn is that they will not be playing in Europe next season whereas Birmingham, who defeated Arsenal in the Carling Cup, will be drawn for the group stages of the Europa League. Should Johnson be prepared to sacrifice football in Europe for more top end Premiership football then Blackburn certainly hold the key.
Blackburn are also currently rebuffing offers for their young defensive starlet Phil Jones who remains a long term target of Manchester United and Liverpool. 19 year old Jones has a £16m escape clause in his current deal that was signed in January.