Santa Cruz agrees new Blackburn contract

August 23, 2008

Roque Santa Cruz has repaid Blackburn's faith in him by signing a new four-year deal despite interest from more high-profile clubs.

Rovers signed the injury-plagued Paraguay international from Bayern Munich for around £3.5million last summer despite a history of serious knee problems.

The gamble paid off as Santa Cruz - who scored in Saturday's 3-2 win at Everton - played 36 of 38 Premier League games last season and scored 23 goals in all competitions.

That feat led former Rovers boss Mark Hughes to attempt to take him to Manchester City recently while the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham were supposedly interested.

After David Bentley left Rovers to join Tottenham earlier this summer, Santa Cruz was also tipped to move on.

However, the 27-year-old yesterday opted to pen a contract extension to tie him to the Ewood Park club until 2012.

A statement on the club's website, rovers.co.uk, said last night: 'Blackburn Rovers are delighted to announce that Roque Santa Cruz has signed a new four-year contract with the club, running through until 2012.'

Only yesterday morning vice-captain David Dunn said it would be 'a tragedy' if Santa Cruz and fellow striker Benni McCarthy were to leave.

'I don't think any player, certainly not those two, will be leaving,' he added.

'As a Blackburn fan it would be a tragedy if they left so I'm sure the club wouldn't allow that.

'You could bid £30million for Roque and I'm sure they wouldn't let him go, in my opinion.

'Roque is a tremendous player, as is Benni. We are a club that is trying to achieve things ourselves and you couldn't let Brad Friedel, David Bentley and Roque Santa Cruz go in the same season. There's no way the club will let that happen.'