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By ESPN Staff

Santa Cruz eyes Blackburn switch

On-loan Blackburn Rovers striker Roque Santa Cruz hopes to secure a permanent move to Ewood Park this summer and end his frustrating time as a Manchester City player.

• Samba was 'very close' to Arsenal move
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Santa Cruz, 29, was a £17.5 million signing for City from Rovers in the summer of 2009 but a combination of injury and poor form has limited him to just six league starts and three goals at Eastlands.

He was loaned back to the Ewood Park club in January and was a late substitute in the 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday which pushed Steve Kean's side closer to securing their Premier League status.

Despite failing to score since rejoining Rovers, the Paraguayan is a popular figure with the club's fans and he is keen to sign on a permanent basis once the season is over.

"The loan ends this summer and I need to see how it goes, but once I finish here I will need to go back to City," Santa Cruz said. "Everyone knows that I am very happy at Blackburn, I have a lot of friends. I have enjoyed my time here so it would be a great thing for me if I could stay but it is up to the club and City so we need to see what will happen.

"As a player you expect and want to play and of course when you come to my age you want to enjoy the last bit of football that you have left. I don't want to spend the rest of my career not playing. So That is the main consideration for me.''

Should Santa Cruz end up back with Roberto Mancini he will be at the bottom of a long list of striking options, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Felipe Caicedo all also out on loan and likely to be sold in the coming months.

The targetman was pleased with the point gained at Upton Park but admits he feared the worst when Hammers midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger lined up the equaliser to cancel out Jason Roberts' opener.

Hitzlsperger made his name at Aston Villa and Stuttgart by firing in powerful 25-yard drives and Santa Cruz was all too aware of the threat.

"It was a good goal from Thomas Hitzlsperger, he has a great left foot and it went into the corner," Santa Cruz said. "It was a bit unlucky for us but it was a good hit. After that of course we tried to keep playing and score on the break but we also realised that suddenly we had a lot to lose if we conceded again.

"I think that the result was not too bad for us. I knew Thomas Hitzlsperger from Germany and knew what he could do. He is famous because of his left foot.''

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