Date:Sunday September 3 2006
Now that the transfer window has closed until January a roundup of who that have exited Ewood (not all for the last time?) during June 1st and August 31st 2006 can take place.
Who are the men to exit Rovers and what can we expect to miss about them? Firstly the departures since the last roundup:
Jermal Johnson: The American born striker seemed to have no future at Ewood under Hughes so decided to seek pastures new. A brief trial would then see a permanent move to Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers for an undisclosed amount on August 17th.
Looked promising, and very much one for the future but would have been well down the pecking order. Johnson has scored goals for Wolves since his arrival.
Jonathan Douglas: The Republic of Ireland International midfielder ended his six-year stay at Ewood Park on Transfer deadline day, signing a three-year deal with Leeds United for an undisclosed fee (thought to be around £400,000)
A successful spell with Leeds last season looked to have earned him another chance to impress Hughes this term, and with his regular involvement in pre-season most will be surprised to see him leave.
International players can be hard to replace, and with midfield not overly stocked and although it is fair to see we didn`t really see enough of him at Ewood, I for one am disappointed to see him leave.
Keith Barker: The 19-year-old forward left for a loan spell with Rochdale. Yet to feature in the first team spent a spell on loan last season with Belgian feeder club Cercle Brugge.
This move will give Barker valuable first team experience although personally I`m not sure what the future will hold for the England U20 International with Rovers anyway?
Shefki Kuqi: Arrived on a free from Ipswich in 2005, departed on deadline day as the transfer window neared its closure. A reported £2.5 million fee saw him return to the Championship with Crystal Palace.
Summer arrivals pushed him down the pecking order but he will still be sorely missed. Not the most technically gifted of players but a different option to that available to Hughes, he was more than just a big target man however.
From a financial viewpoint good business from the clubs point a player who will be missed, Shabani Nonda will have to make as big an impact as Hughes hopes for some to maybe be convinced letting "The Flying Finn" go was the right call.
And a re-cap on these that had already left during the previous roundup on the eve of the new Premiership season:
Lorenzo Amoruso: Signed from Glasgow Rangers following a successful 6-year spell by former Boss Graeme Souness in the summer of 2003 on a free transfer.
Amoruso was a popular player but he struggled with form and countless injury lay-off`s during his time at Ewood. Injured in October 2003 in his first season, shortly after his arrival he would be out for 5 months with a knee injury. He would recover and recapture his first team place, also improving his form, but his 2004/2005 season would be blighted with injury. Last season he would not make a single appearance.
The Italian defender would be released in May. With plenty of other options in central defence he will not be as missed as he could have been.
Vratislav Gresko: Another Souness signing. Gresko Joined Rovers in January 2003, initially for the remainder of that season, but would be handed a longer contract in August of that year.
In December of the 2004/2005 season he would damage his cruciate ligament meaning he missed the remiander of the season, and like Amoruso failed to feature last season.
The Slovak Internationals chances would have been limited this term, if truth be known he`s struggled to hold down a first team place at most clubs since his move from Bayer Leverkusen to Inter Milan, then on to Parma and subsequently Rovers so Hughes decided to release him once his deal ended. Recently offered a trial with Nuremberg.
Steven Drench: The 20-year-old Goalkeeper, who featured 24 times for Morecambe during a loan spell last season, was released in May without making a first team appearance at Ewood Park.
With added competition from Jason Brown, with that already from Peter Enckelman his chances of even being number two to Brad Friedel would have been almost non-existent.
Jerome Watt: Another youngster released by Mark Hughes in the summer. The England U19 International didn`t quite have what Hughes was looking for. Given a trial with Northampton in Pre-Season, he would eventually sign on non-contract terms until Christmas with the view to a longer term deal. Recently signed a contract until the end of the season after scoring on his debut.
Paul Dickov: The former Scottish International came to Ewood in 2004 following Leicester City`s relegation from the Premiership. His arrival would be to the disapproval of the Leicester faithful, having publicly pledged to remain with the club in a bid to see them return to the top flight.
A successful first season would see regular football, but after beginning last season injured, the summer arrivals of Craig Bellamy and Shefki Kuqi, then loan signing of Florent Sinama Pongolle in January, Dickov would find regular action hard to come across, and returned to Manchester City on a free transfer in May.
Although very determined and willing to battle the new arrivals this summer would have seen his opportunities restricted even more. Jason Roberts will prove a more than adequate replacement being younger, stronger, more powerful and if brutally honest more clinical in front of goal.
Craig Bellamy: Bellamy possibly wouldn`t have joined Rovers at all, even though his former Welsh International Manager Hughes would be in charge had it not been for many a falling out with former Rovers Boss Graeme Souness during his time at Newcastle United. A series of high profile rows would eventually see Bellamy loaned to Celtic at the end of the 2004/2005 season. Following a successful loan the club would want to sign him on a permanent basis, but lack of funds would see him arrive at Ewood for a fee as little as £2.5 million, but most likely as high as £5 million.
Despite some injury problems last season Bellamy would prove a very successful signing and highly popular one, managing 17 goals in 30 odd appearances making him a target for high profile clubs. Once Liverpool activated a clause in his contract (any club being able to offer Bellamy Champions League football could speak with him providing they met the £6 million transfer valuation put on Bellamy`s head) Rovers were given no choice but to let him speak to Rafa Benitez`s side. Bellamy would sign for Liverpool on the 23rd June 2006 for a fee of around £6 million, taking his combined transfer fees over £20 million in six years.
Bellamy will be missed, his ability and talent could have been hard to replace but more than done so potentially with the arrivals of the talented Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts. Bellamy`s pace will prove particularly hard to replace, but again Roberts is no slouch, nor for that matter is McCarthy.
Gary Harkins: Scottish midfeilder Harkins came through the Rovers youth set-up but failed to make a first team apperance. He would be loaned out several times before being allowed to Join Grimsby on a free tansfer in July 2006.
With a number of quality midfeidlers already at the club, and the emergence of young Keith Treacy he would rarely, if at all featured in the coming season(s).
Date:Sunday September 3 2006
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