Sam Allardyce is looking to rub more salt into Blackburn wounds by raiding his former club for two of their want-away stars.
It was a case of he who laughs last, laughs longest for the West Ham boss when Rovers were relegated to the Championship 18 months after giving him the sack in frankly bizarre circumstances, with Big Sam passing them on his way back to the Premier League.
Now Allardyce is looking to take two of their prize assets to Upton Park with the Lancashire club languishing in the lower reaches of English football’s second tier.
His primary target is Swedish international left-back Martin Olsson, who was one of a small minority of Blackburn players who emerged from their disastrous 2011-12 campaign with any credit.
However, the paltry £2m offer the Hammers have tabled would indicate otherwise.
It appears Allardyce is really trying to kick Rovers while they’re down, hoping that the player will kick up a fuss and force the club into accepting such a derisory sum for his services.
The 24-year-old has made 24 appearances this season but, with promotion looking increasingly unlikely, he is sure to voice his desire to quit the club in favour of a return to the Premier League with the transfer window open once again.
The second player Allardyce is targeting is former England number one, Paul Robinson.
Alike Olsson, Robinson also made his intent to quit the club common knowledge. However, his basis was formed off the back of the club trying to re-recruit Brad Friedel, prior to the American stopper extending his Tottenham deal.
Since then he’s found himself behind youngster Jake Kean in the pecking order and the head honchos at Rovers will surely want one of their top earners off the wage bill if he’s bench-warming.
Robinson is not likely to command much of a transfer fee but, as a goalkeeper with ample top-flight experience, competition for his signature is likely to be fierce.
The likes of Fulham and Reading are reported to be in the running to snap him up, but his relationship with Allardyce from their time together at Ewood Park – who utilised Robinson’s massive hoofs up the pitch to the extent where getting caught offside against Rovers was as dangerous as giving away a corner – may well give the Hammers the edge in the race to sign him.
Despite winning just one of their last five Premier League games, West Ham remain eight points above the drop-zone and are well-placed to secure a top-ten finish which can be backed at 9/5.
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