Ince confirms Villa bid for unsettled Bentley

July 14, 2008

Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Ince has revealed that Aston Villa have tabled a bid for the club's highly-rated by unsettled winger, David Bentley.

Ince, who saw his side win 2-1 in a friendly against his former club Macclesfield on Monday evening, said that Blackburn had received a bid from Martin O'Neill's Villa, but insisted he hoped to retain the services of the England international.

Ince also insisted he had heard nothing from Tottenham, and made it plain that he had no interest in England goalkeeper Paul Robinson and did not want to sell veteran keeper Brad Freidel.

His statement follow reports that Tottenham boss Juande Ramos had targeted Bentley and hoped to use Robinson as a makeweight, a potentially advantageous proposition amid speculation that Rovers stopper Brad Freidel is being lined up for a £2.5million move to Villa.

However, Ince said: "When I came to Blackburn, I said I wanted to keep my best players, and Brad Friedel comes into that category. He is one of the best keepers in the Premier League.

"There is no interest from me in Paul Robinson. As far as I am concerned, I want to keep Brad. I do not want to sell Brad, so why should I want Paul Robinson?

"As for the David Bentley situation, that will not go away, only time will tell whether he is here in August.

"He would have played here tonight if he had not been injured, but I know that in football players come and players go.

"We have had an offer from Aston Villa, but I do not want him to go.

"But he is injured and he will have a couple of days off and I hope to take him to Germany on Wednesday for or training trip."

Meanwhile, Rovers striker Roque Santa Cruz has played down speculation he is seeking a move away from Ewood Park.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City are reportedly interested in signing the Paraguay international who scored 23 goals last season.

However, after spending the past month in his homeland, Santa Cruz revealed he is ready to return to England and continue his Blackburn career telling Paravision TV station: 'A lot of people said my transfer to a bigger club was about to happen, but I live in the present and I'm focused on Blackburn.'

He added: 'I'm happy for the good season that I had and the important goals that I scored.

'I am motivated by the other teams' interest, but if I am not transferred then I want to have the best possible season at Blackburn.'