Mark Hughes has confirmed Manchester City have had an improved offer for Roque Santa Cruz turned down by Blackburn. City have been chasing Santa Cruz for much of the transfer window and went back with an increased bid for the Paraguayan, only for Rovers to say no. "Yesterday [Thursday] afternoon we put an improved bid to Blackburn for Roque Santa Cruz but it was rejected," said Hughes.
Hughes confirmed City have not made a formal approach for any players besides those made for the Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given and Santa Cruz, when he was specifically questioned about Arsenal defender Kolo Toure. Given has submitted a transfer request in the hope of speeding up a move, according to the BBC, and Newcastle have given him permission to talk to City. The Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce also confirmed Rovers had rejected the latest bid for Santa Cruz. "We have considered it and it's not been accepted. They have been unsuccessful. But whether they come back before Monday's 5pm deadline, I've no idea."
Meanwhile, Blackburn have moved to bolster their attack ahead of Santa Cruz's possible departure by signing the Senegal striker El Hadji Diouf from Sunderland for £2million (Dh10m) but he will have to wait another week to make his debut after completing the deal just after the Premier League deadline for today's game at Middlesbrough. The highly rated Derby County midfielder Giles Barnes has joined Fulham on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent move. Barnes, 20, who has just returned from a lengthy lay-off, scored twice in Derby's 4-2 League Cup defeat at Manchester United under new manager Nigel Clough.
Clough told the BBC: "We've got to give Giles that opportunity. He's not what we'd class as a 100 per cent match fit, he's been out an awfully long time and in our situation we hope it [the move] won't do us any harm. "It is a dilemma that we haven't got that time or luxury to give him a few games to get him match fit. * With agencies