There is a good reason for the speculation that has engulfed the future of Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy this summer. After years of being linked with a move to the Premiership, Rovers finally took a punt on the South African star and reaped the rewards, with the powerful forward hitting 18 league goals.
There is a good reason for the speculation that has engulfed the future of Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy this summer.
After years of being linked with a move to the Premiership, Rovers finally took a punt on the South African star and reaped the rewards, with the powerful forward hitting 18 league goals.
That is quite a return for a player who cost just £2,5-million, but can McCarthy really be blamed for looking at the options available away from Ewood Park?
Chelsea have been rebuffed in their attempts to get McCarthy on board and Blackburn have every right to look to hold on to their best player.
They are even looking to reward him with an improved contract and chairperson John Williams said: “When we took Benni for £2,5-million so many people had overlooked over the years. We took the plunge and he kept scoring.
“He never seemed to score two. It seemed to be one a game every game. At one point I really did think that he was going to overtake [Didier] Drogba and get the Golden Boot.
“It was a phenomenal first year performance. There’s been talk about Benni, Jason Roberts and David Bentley. Some of it is talk, some if it there is some substance. But we have to hang on to our best players if we’re going to improve.”
Rovers manager Mark Hughes is a studious tactician and after a slow start last term, dragged the best out of his small but talented squad.
With the quality of Morten Gamst Pedersen and Bentley on the flanks, as well as powerful and quick strikers such as Roque Santa Cruz, Jason Roberts and Matt Derbyshire, the team is set up perfectly for McCarthy.
But the reality of life in the Premiership is that Blackburn are never likely to make that extra step to challenge for the Champions League places.
The most Rovers can achieve this season is to make more of a concerted challenge for the UEFA Cup places and perhaps enjoy a good run at either the FA Cup or the League Cup.
With McCarthy turning 30 in November, it is little wonder that he already has itchy feet after just a year at Ewood Park.
McCarthy’s most recent take on his situation was lukewarm.
“I’ve got a contract with the club,” he said.
“I’ll have to sit it out and if anything else happens besides that then it will be the club’s decision.”
The impression is that McCarthy’s current mood would not be improved significantly by a pay-rise and, despite winning the Champions League in his time with Porto, honours—and not cash—are his main motivation.
Despite McCarthy being set for African Nations Cup duty in January as well as Drogba, it would be little surprise if Jose Mourinho comes calling again if he feels he needs another striker once the transfer window opens.
Blackburn would net a handsome profit and few could blame McCarthy for wanting to test himself on the highest stage once again. - Sapa-AFP