Chris Samba took a Pounds 20,000-a-week pay cut and swapped the Champions League prospects in Russia for a relegation fight with QPR because, he tells David Fearnhead, he missed his family
"Do you think it's too much money?" Chris Samba fires back when asked his feelings towards the 12.5m fee it took to bring him back to the Premier League.
At 6ft 4in and close to 100kg it's hard to know how to answer the man Harry Redknapp still hopes will lead his Queen's Park Rangers team to safety. Thankfully he is in philosophical mood.
"I know some people do," he says. "If it was another player would that be OK? Maybe someone else is more worth it? I'm not here to judge. I was bought. I didn't choose to buy myself."
The France-born defender is aware of what hefty price tags can do to players. He has seen what has happened to Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres, like everybody else.
"We don't set the price," Samba says. "I think my transfer came across totally wrong because of the valuation. Maybe some people believe in what I have done in football, my reputation, what I did at Blackburn was enough to be worth that."
Since moving to Blackburn from Hertha Berlin in 2007, when Mark Hughes bought him for just 450,000, Samba has been sold twice for a total of 23.5m.
His wages at Anzhi Makhachkala were quoted as being 120,000-a- week, way beyond anything he was getting at Blackburn. Though when he says he did not come to QPR for the money it is backed up by the fact that he took a reported 20,000-a-week pay cut and swapped Champions League football for a relegation fight to do so.
Samba insists his acrimonious departure from Blackburn last year was triggered by broken promises. "I was told they were going to rebuild the team, and when they didn't I felt that my time there was up," he says.
Rovers rejected his transfer request but manager Steve Kean seemed happy to let Samba sit out the season in the stands. Arsenal and Tottenham, then managed by Redknapp, both showed interest, but neither could match the large price asked for his services. As deadline day loomed Anzhi were his only way out. Yet a year later he's back in the Premier League after QPR met his release clause from the Russian club.
Samba says he never asked to leave Anzhi and left on good terms with the owner, billionaire Suleyman Kerimov. "I have a lot of love for the people there," he says. "This club really do everything to make life good. They take care of you and you want for nothing.
"It was just the case that I was alone all the time. It was difficult. For one year you are alone at home just watching TV or something. I don't think that was the life for me. So I started to think that I wanted to come back."
Samba is optimistic about Anzhi's prospects after they signed Brazilian playmaker Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk. He says: "The owner is investing so much into this club, it's going places and you'd have to be crazy to leave. I had three years left there on a big salary. Obviously, going to QPR is not to make more money. Not at all. All the talk about money is just nonsense.
"I missed my family and wanted to be back with my boys. All the money in the world cannot make you the happiest man. I think for your life to be complete you need to have two sides. …