Blackburn targets Riquelme as latest big name - Sports Illustrated

Blackburn targets Riquelme as latest big name

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MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -- Blackburn Rovers have targeted Argentine Juan Roman Riquelme as their ambition to lure a big name showed no sign of waning on Friday after the failures to entice David Beckham and Ronaldinho.

However, manager Steve Kean damped down any expectations Rovers fans might have of an immediate marquee signing saying he did not expect anything to materialise before the transfer window ends at the end of the month.

Blackburn's bid to sign Beckham and Ronaldinho was widely viewed on Internet fan forums as audacious at best and a joke at worst, but the club and its new Indian owners are determined to pull off a transfer coup.

"He's been on a list with a number of other players but I don't think it will happen in this window," Kean told a news conference when asked about the plans to bring playmaker Riquelme to the small Lancashire mill town from Boca Juniors.

"If we bring somebody who is a landmark or marquee signing in that will probably be in the summer."

Riquelme, a creative Argentine midfielder who missed last year's World Cup but was a member of the team who reached the 2006 quarter-finals, signed a new four-year contract with Boca Juniors last August.

Kean, who on Thursday signed a contract to stay at the club until June 2013 after being given his first managerial job in the Premier League when Sam Allardyce was sacked last month, said it was important to take time over transfers.

He also said he hoped to continue bringing young players from the academy through to his squad and also encourage some senior players to sign new contracts.

He said it was encouraging that Blackburn had managed to attract Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz back from Manchester City and American midfielder Jermaine Jones from Schalke 04 on loan deals.

"When we try to bring somebody from ... clubs of that size and they choose to come here over other clubs, that we can manage to pay their salaries and convince them that this is a place that is moving forward, I think that is fantastic for the club," said Kean.

Blackburn, who won the Premier League in 1995 after a huge cash injection that enabled them to buy big-name players, are 11th in the league and host West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.