Date:Friday July 18 2008
Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel has today requested to leave Ewood Park and speak with Aston Villa and Man City.
The Blackburn legend has made it clear to new manager Paul Ince that he is keen to speak with other clubs.
In the last 48 hours, John Williams and Paul Ince have rejected bids from both clubs for the in-demand 37-year-old, who only signed a new two-year deal in February.
However, with Friedel making it clear he would like to move on, Rovers are left in a tough spot.
The chairman told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph: 'We've had two bids for Brad, despite my insistence to the clubs concerned we didn't want them. They've been rejected.
'When Brad told us he wanted to leave, it was a bolt out of the blue - he had only signed his latest contract back in February, and a replacement keeper has not even been on our radar.
'It's an unwelcome situation for us, and particularly for Paul, who has been concentrating on other targets, as well as assessing our squad and bedding in his new backroom staff.
'We are very keen for Brad to stay but to deny him the move he clearly wants after a lengthy stint with the club is difficult.
'We know we have good players and are constantly rejecting unwanted overtures, but it's particularly difficult to accept players leaving for clubs in and around us in the league.
'We have told Brad that, in any event, we cannot even consider a move for him, unless we can satisfy both our football and commercial requirements.
'Looking at the market for proven keepers, we haven't got a bid that anywhere near meets the commercial part of the equation.
'I know some observers will feel that we should take Brad's age and service into account, but it's not that simple.
'We have not earmarked any funds for the goalkeeping department. Why would we?
'And on the football side, Brad Friedels don't grow on trees.
'If he doesn't get his move, although disappointed, Brad is the ultimate professional and I am confident he will remain focused on Rovers.
'But there's no point in denying that this is a tricky situation.'
The reason for the move is no doubt money, Villa and Man City are both ready to offer more money than Rovers could afford.
That prompted Ince to offer Friedel an improved contract this week, but with the big man ready to go elsewhere, it does appear as if Villa is his preffered destination.
Bad news for Rovers for sure, but I wish Brad all the success wherever he may end up. He has been a magnificent servant for the club and is a living legend.
Date:Friday July 18 2008
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