Friedel asks to leave Rovers

18 July 2008 01:16
Veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel has moved closer to the exit door after telling Blackburn Rovers that he wants to leave Ewood Park. The 37-year-old former USA international has been the subject of bids from both Manchester City and Aston Villa in recent days. Friedel signed a new two-year contract with Rovers in February but has now told club officials that he is keen to hold talks with both City - now managed by former Blackburn boss Mark Hughes - and Villa. "We've had two bids for Brad, despite my insistence to the clubs concerned we didn't want them. They've been rejected," chairman John Williams told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph. "When Brad told us he wanted to leave, it was a bolt out of the blue. He had only signed his latest contract back in February and a replacement keeper has not even been on our radar." However, Williams has warned the former Liverpool keeper that he will not be allowed to leave unless new manager Paul Ince can find a suitable replacement. "It's an unwelcome situation for us, and particularly for Paul, who has been concentrating on other targets, as well as assessing our squad and bedding in his new backroom staff," he continued. "We are very keen for Brad to stay but to deny him the move he clearly wants after a lengthy stint with the club is difficult. "We know we have good players and are constantly rejecting unwanted overtures, but it's particularly difficult to accept players leaving for clubs in and around us in the league. "We have told Brad that, in any event, we cannot even consider a move for him, unless we can satisfy both our football and commercial requirements. "Looking at the market for proven keepers, we haven't got a bid that anywhere near meets the commercial part of the equation. "I know some observers will feel that we should take Brad's age and service into account, but it's not that simple. "We have not earmarked any funds for the goalkeeping department. Why would we? "And on the football side, Brad Friedels don't grow on trees. "If he doesn't get his move, although disappointed, Brad is the ultimate professional and I am confident he will remain focused on Rovers."

Source: ESA