THE signing of a top striker remains the number one priority at Blackburn Rovers this summer – despite reports linking the club with a sensational swoop for Real Madrid star Guti.
Transfer funds for manager Sam Allardyce are limited, despite a top-10 finish in the Premier League, and he is keen to bring a leading attacker to Ewood Park before the start of the World Cup.
Frederic Piquionne, who played in Portsmouth’s FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea on Saturday, remains a top target.
But Allardyce has a history for attracting big names, and is also eyeing a move for Guti – with the help of defender Michel Salgado, a former Real Madrid team-mate.
The Lancashire Telegraph can reveal there has been no official contact between Rovers and the player, and the Spaniard’s wage demands could be a huge sticking point.
Born in Torrejón de Ardoz, Community of Madrid, Guti began playing for Real Madrid’s cantera in 1984, initially as a striker, but was later moved to midfield, and remained there for the vast majority of his career. On 2 December 1995, he made his first-team debut against Sevilla FC, with Real Madrid winning 4–1. He finished the season with one goal in nine appearances.
In 1997, Guti added two trophies to his cabinet, the league and the Spanish Supercup. He played 17 games that season, scoring once. In 1997–98, he helped the Merengues lift the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, while Guti himself added the UEFA U-21 Championship.
The 1999–2000 season started badly for Guti: struggling with the responsibility of replacing Clarence Seedorf, he was sent off for kicking a fallen adversary. This negative trait was often recurrent in his career, as he was shown his marching orders eight times during his career in the league alone. In the campaign, in which he also captured the Champions League, he scored six goals in 28 games. The following year he had his best scoring season for Real Madrid, scoring 14 goals and playing most of the season as a striker, due to injuries to Fernando Morientes, contributing greatly to Madrid’s 27th league title, and subsequently another Spanish Supercup.
After the purchase of Ronaldo in 2002, Guti returned to midfield, and his goalscoring rate went down drastically. During the next two seasons, he would score eight goals in 63 games. Along came another Champions League, a UEFA Super Cup, and an Intercontinental Cup. In 2003, he added another domestic Supercup.
During 2004–05, Guti had his lowest season in terms of goal scoring, as he failed to score for the first time in seven seasons with the first team. He only managed to score only one goal, in an international against San Marino in February 2005. In 2005–06, he played 43 games and scored six goals (four in the league and two in European competition).
With the election of Ramón Calderón as club president and his subsequent vow to bring A.C. Milan’s Brazilian star Kaká to Real Madrid, Guti’s future at the Bernabéu appeared insecure. He was linked with a move away to cross-town rivals Atlético de Madrid but, in the end, decided to stay with Real while Kaká stayed in Italy.