Christopher Samba, the Blackburn Rovers defender, has cast doubt over his future at Ewood Park by claiming he would leap at the chance to leave if a "good opportunity" arose. According to the French newspaper L'Equipe, the centre-back, who has been linked with Premier League rivals Arsenal, wants to move up a level. Samba also appeared to contradict his manager Steve Kean's assertion that the club do not want to sell him by suggesting they were talking to interested parties. "I know there are discussions with some clubs," the 27 year old told L'Equipe. "If a good opportunity arises, I want to seize it. It is necessary that the club understands that I want to go one step further. I hope they will not put a stick in the wheels."
West Brom have again been forced to insist key players Peter Odemwingie and Youssouf Mulumbu are not for sale. Odemwingie, who was the club's leading scorer with 15 goals last season, and Mulumbu, the midfielder, have been the subject of summer speculation linking them with a move away from The Hawthorns. Odemwingie, a Nigeria international, was reported to be a target for Arsenal and Mulumbu was said to be attracting interest from Fiorentina in Italy. But Dan Ashworth, West Brom's technical director, said yesterday: "Peter and Youssouf are not for sale."
Arsenal will not sell Carlos Vela this summer, the Mexico international's agent has said. The 22-year-old striker was loaned out to West Bromwich Albion for the second half of last season, but failed to make a major impact, scoring just twice in eight Premier League appearances. He was expected to be one of several players Arsenal would allow to leave. However, Eduardo Hernandez, Vela's agent, told ESPN Radioformula in Mexico: "I have had eight conversations with Arsenal, the most recent was last Friday, and Carlos is an Arsenal player, he will stay at Arsenal and is not for sale. Arsene Wenger is an extremely demanding coach, he sent him on loan to West Brom not with the results he wanted, but, nevertheless, everything is going very well."
Gervais Martel, the president of French club RC Lens, has confirmed that Chelsea target Raphael Varane will join Real Madrid. Martel, whose club were relegated from France's top tier last season, told Lens supporters that they should not bemoan Varane's departure as he would have left even if the team had stayed up "because he is phenomenal". The 18-year-old central defender was also courted by Arsenal, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, but Martel says "I will be proud to see him play in Real colours". According to L'Equipe, the clubs have agreed a €10 million (Dh53m) fee and Varane will sign a five-year contract on Monday.
Richie De Laet hopes an impressive season on loan at Premier League new-boys Norwich City will see him return to Manchester United ready to challenge for a first-team spot. The Belgian, 22, joined United from Stoke City in January 2009, but has spent most of his career on loan at Championship clubs. De Laet believes he will benefit from testing himself against Premier League strikers on a regular basis. "Regular football at first-team level is invaluable," De Laet told skysports.com. "If I can play as many games as I can this season then I can go back there [United] and give it a good go at getting in the first team."