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Aug 19, 2010

Blackburn suitor Syed targets Beckham

Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed wants to sign David Beckham as part of a nine-figure spending spree if his proposed takeover of Blackburn is successful.

Big Sam vows to take it steady

• Forum: Rovers + £100m = success?
• Blackburn confirm takeover talks

Rovers are in discussions with Syed, 36, over a proposed £300 million takeover with the Bahrain-based lawyer pledging an initial £80-100 million for new players. Syed believes the 35-year-old Beckham, who has not played for an English club since he left Manchester United seven years ago, is a high-profile name to fit his lofty ambitions.

"I was 26 when I started following the Premier League. I used to like Blackburn back then and also used to follow Manchester United's fortunes because of David Beckham,'' he told the Daily Mail. "If my finances allow and his intentions are positive then I would love to take Beckham.''

Blackburn confirmed earlier this week they had held "a cordial and productive meeting'' with representatives of Syed's investment firm Western Gulf Advisory. That announcement coincided with the 10th anniversary of the death of former owner Jack Walker, the steel magnate who invested huge amounts of his personal fortune into his hometown club and helped to lift them from obscurity to the Premier League title 15 years ago.

Manager Sam Allardyce, however, feels comparisons should not be drawn between Walker's time in charge of the club and the new era of foreign ownership that looks set to begin at Ewood Park.

Asked if he thought Rovers could be on the verge of something similar to the years under Walker, Allardyce said: "No - Jack was the top spender in the country then. While our prospective new owner is talking about vast amounts of money compared to what we used to have, it is still way below what Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United or Liverpool have spent over the years.

"It is fantastic money for a club like ours, but it is still, in terms of the top boys, not (enough to make) as big an impression as they have made over the last few years. The numbers that are being talked about at Blackburn, while fantastic to get us close, are not (equivalent to) the sort of money that Jack Walker first put in, which was more than everyone else at the time. He almost bought a whole side with (then manager) Kenny Dalglish that became legendary at this football club and was the best team in the league.''

Allardyce believes a takeover of the club could bring "great success'' to Ewood Park, but has already vowed he will not start paying over the odds for players if he is handed a large transfer budget.

"I have to persuade the new owners - if it happens - that we have got to do it relatively slowly, not 'bang, bang, bang, bang','' Allardyce said. "That is a little too quick to turn a football club round to being successful. You try and do it as quick as you possibly can, but you want to do it by making sure we sign the quality of player at the right price. Even though we might have millions and millions to spend, we still have to negotiate the right price and not over-spend for a player that is not worth the money.

"If he goes and plays at Ewood Park, we have paid £10 million or £20 million for him and the fans see him on the pitch and say that he is not worth it, then straight away you are going to have a negative response to the money we have spent. That is the sort of thing you have got to try to avoid, but if we can avoid that, it could bring great success to Blackburn Rovers over the next few years.''

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