By Rob Stewart
Blackburn striker Yakubu is ready to tell manager Steve Kean that he wants to quit the relegated Lancashire club in order to continue plying his trade in the Premier League, Goal.com can reveal.
The 29-year-old Nigerian forward has made it known privately that he does not want to play in the Championship and, while there has been no talk of a transfer request, the former Everton star is now hoping that a top-flight club will make a bid for his services.
Yakubu’s 17 league goals last season failed to prevent Rovers from slipping into the second tier of English football and, having tasted life in the Championship before while on loan at Leicester City, he is desperate to avoid dropping down a division.
Newly-promoted Reading and Southampton are both weighing up a move for the former Portsmouth player but his track record could prompt a bidding war.
|...AND HE WILL SCORE
|YAKUBU'S 2011-12 IN STATS
“Yak has his heart set on staying in the Premier League so it looks likely that he will be off this summer,” a source close to the player told Goal.com.
“He was really saddened by what happened at the end of the season because he had a great rapport with the fans but he is certain that he is still a Premier League striker and so he hopes that a deal will be done that suits all parties.
“There is no way that he will rock the boat because he thinks too much of his team-mates to do that but he wants common sense to prevail. He has two years left on his current contract and he is prepared to tell Steve Kean that he wants the club to let him go if a suitable offer comes in.
“He knows what the Championship is like after his time at Leicester but he says he is a Premier League player and his goals have shown that and he would prefer not to drop down a division. There won’t be a formal transfer request at this stage but anything could happen.”
Yakubu’s restlessness will undermine manager Kean’s hopes of remaining in charge at Ewood Park following a round of talks with club owners Venky’s in Pune, India.
The Scot is hoping to persuade Venky’s that he is the right man to inspire Rovers to an immediate return to the Premier League and was hoping that the striker - who joined the club from Everton last August for an undisclosed sum - would be the man to spearhead a promotion campaign.
It seems unlikely that he will be able to convince Yakubu to stay, given the events at Middlesbrough in 2007, when the player told then-manager Gareth Southgate he wanted to quit and an £11 million move to the Toffees was soon agreed.
Highly-rated Canadian forward Junior Hoilett will also quit Blackburn after indicating that he would not sign a new deal, with his current contract running out this summer.