Date:Monday September 25 2006
Vital Blackburn member geane on Tuesday 19th September reported that left-back Michael Ball was subject to a late transfer deadline day bid from Rovers to reunite him with former teammate Mark Hughes.
Ball, formerly of Everton, with Hughes a team mate of his during Hughes' brief spell at Goodison Park in 2000, is currently with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, recent acquisition Andre Ooijer`s former side.
Being born in Liverpool, Ball would begin his career with Everton, coming through their youth academy, breaking into the first team in the 1996-1997 season as an 18-year-old. He would soon become a regular and his impressive displays at left-back won him his one and only England cap to date in early 2001.
The Toffees financial difficulties lead to his £6.5 million move to Glasgow Rangers in 2001. A long standing knee problem hindered his progress at Ibrox, also costing him his England place, and in four years in Scotland he would only manage fifty-seven Scottish Premier League outings. When finally fully fit a clause in his contract, which would have seen Everton receive further payments, would mean he would not play again.
A move to the continent with PSV on a free transfer would happen in 2005; however the arrival of Ronald Koeman in the summer has seen him frozen out. Despite having a squad number of 5, which would make you think he would be part of the boss' plans, he wouldn't even make the squad that recently faced Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.
Geane has also said that Ball would have indeed signed for Rovers, or possibly even Newcastle United on deadline day had potential deals not collapsed at the last minute.
26-year-old Ball is a fine footballer and should he get back to anywhere near to his best form he showed during his time with Everton there are not too many better left-back's than him in the country, but getting back to this form could prove the problem...
Could a deal have been struck he could have fitted in very nicely at left-back, but where would this have left Lucas Neill? Would an arrival have hastened the departure of the Australian, switched to the left-hand side this season, or would it merely have seen him revert back to a right-back, or even a central position?
It could be viewed that had Neill departed for Liverpool Ball would have been a ready made replacement, but with Liverpool and Rovers being unable to strike a deal maybe, and this is merely an assumption, this could be the reason for Ball's possible transfer collapse?
If he can't make a move in January his contract with the Dutch side is due to expire in the summer so a return to England could still very much be in the offering, whether or not this would be to Ewood Park remains to be seen, the key to a possible deal would seem to be Lucas Neill, and where his future ultimately lies...
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Date:Monday September 25 2006
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