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9:57am Friday 15th May 2009
GAEL Givet looks set to become Sam Allardyce’s first summer signing after an agreement in principle was made with Marseille to make his loan switch permanent.
The French international has impressed ever since moving to Ewood Park on loan in January and looks certain to tie up a move for in the region of £3.5million, as Allardyce starts building for next season.
The deal is yet to be finalised but sources from inside Ewood have confirmed the versatile defender is now expected to remain in East Lancashire.
Givet’s signing does not mean Stephen Warnock will necessarily be heading for the exit door though, as the club look to build a squad capable of pushing for the top half of the Premier League next season.
Warnock has inevitably been linked with moves to so-called ‘bigger clubs’ in recent weeks, but sources close to the club insist they are unaware of any imminent departure for their left back.
Rovers had agreed the first option on Givet when they initially signed him on loan in January, for around £3.5m, but were initially believed to have been tempted to let the deadline pass in an attempt to agree a cut-price deal.
Now though, with several rivals alerted to his availability and Marseille’s new boss Didier Deschamps a keen admirer of Givet, Rovers look certain to stick to the original asking price to secure their man.
Allardyce, Givet’s agent and parent club Marseille have been in talks this week and believe an agreement has now been reached to extend his stay in England.
In seven seasons at Monaco, between 2000-2007, Givet enjoyed French Cup success and appeared in the 2004 Champions League final, a 3-0 defeat to Porto.
He has made 13 appearances for France but was left frozen out at Marseille, who he moved to in 2007, after a bust-up with coach Eric Gerets.
Since making his Premier League debut in January, the 27-year-old has excelled at left back and centre back, showing he can provide competition across the defence.
Givet has played a key role in Rovers' climb up the Premier League table, including a number of man of the match performances, and his signing would be welcomed by the Ewood Park faithful.
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