• Premier League

Redknapp claims QPR rejected late Samba bid

ESPN staff
March 4, 2013
Christopher Samba was wanted by Zenit St Petersburg © Getty Images

Harry Redknapp has revealed Queens Park Rangers turned down the chance to make a quick profit on defender Chris Samba after interest from Zenit St Petersburg before the Russian transfer window closed last Wednesday.

Samba, 28, joined QPR from Anzhi Makhachkala for a club-record fee of £12.5 million on transfer deadline day in January and Zenit were prepared to pay more to take him back to Russia.

But despite Zenit's interest the transfer would not have been approved by FIFA. The Russian league moved to a cross-year football calendar for 2011-12, which matches the rest of Europe. This means there would be no special dispensation on FIFA's strict rule that a player can only play for two clubs in one season and he would have been ineligible to play for Zenit until July.

Hulk declared his wish to leave Zenit in December, but as he had also played for FC Porto at the start of the season he could not play for a third in 2012-13.

"We had an offer for Samba, right on the deadline and the chairman turned it down. It was for more money than we paid for Samba," QPR boss Redknapp said. "The offer was last week - it was a massive offer to take Samba back to Russia. It was in the week that has just gone as the Russian window was still open. It was a big offer.

"The chairman asked me 'What do you think?' and I said 'It is up to you, it is your club, it is your decision'. I would have had no problem. I left it to the chairman. He came back and said he had turned it down and said 'Get on with it.'

"The player probably spoke to the chairman but it was really important we kept him. It was really good for us. Had we had lost him, I would have had to have played someone else. That is football.

"But he is a proper player. When he was sold, I could never understand why Arsenal did not sign him that time. He is everything you need. He is quick, he can play round his feet. He is a proper centre-half.

"He could play anywhere in this country and for all the top teams."

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