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Blackburn close in on Santa Cruz loan

ESPNsoccernet understands Roque Santa Cruz's loan move back to Blackburn is being tied up in time for him to play against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

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Santa Cruz, who has found his first-team opportunities severely restricted at Manchester City under Roberto Mancini will seal a return to Ewood Park in a move that will certainly help appease fans who remain sceptical about Rovers' new owners.

A source close to Blackburn has told ESPNsoccernet that "there might be more information later today", though the club are refusing to confirm the deal until it is officially completed.

Santa Cruz enjoyed a hugely successful two-year spell at Blackburn when he arrived at the club from Bayern Munich in 2007, scoring 23 goals in 57 Premier League games before moving on to Eastlands in a £17 million deal two years later.

The Paraguay frontman should be a Blackburn player again within the next 24 hours and he will become Steve Kean's first signing since he replaced Sam Allardyce in the Ewood Park hotseat.

Man City boss Roberto Mancini said: "Roque will probably go to Blackburn. Every player wants to play. I understand that. But it is difficult for me. If an opportunity for either of them to play came up, then it would be better for them and I hope for Roque that in one or two days, he will have that."

After intense speculation that Rovers' new owners were working on bringing former World Player of the Year Ronaldinho to the club, Santa Cruz represents a somewhat less illustrious alternative - though in reality Blackburn are adopting a more grounded transfer policy to the one portrayed in the media.

An ESPNsoccernet source at the club said: "There was a lot of needless speculation about Diego Maradona being manager and Ronaldinho and David Beckham signing for the club. It has turned out to be just what we always thought it to be - utter nonsense.

"During the transfer window, people suggest an awful lot of things, but most of it you take with a pinch of salt. If someone rings up and says Ronaldinho wants to sign for Blackburn, you would see if they are serious, but clearly they were not.

"But no one at Blackburn thought for one minute that Ronaldinho would be walking through the door."


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