Date:Tuesday January 2 2007
The annual January sales are upon us again and traditionally this is the time when Mark Hughes works some magic to find 'cheap as chips` bargains.
Ryan Nelsen, Aaron Mokoena and David Bentley are three that stand out and Hughes will be aiming to improve the squad further with similar deals. However, as the transfer rumour mill goes into overdrive, I can`t help but feel concerned regarding Rovers` ability to attract quality players to the club.
Granted Hughes has pulled off two major coups in his time as manager of Rovers, convincing first Craig Bellamy and more recently, Benni McCarthy, that their futures lie at Ewood Park, but it seems a number of other players reject the chance. Alas, before we signed McCarthy, Rovers fans had to endure the long summer saga with Mido.
He was highlighted as the club`s first choice striker and after a fee was agreed with Roma it looked inevitable that he would become a Rovers player. However, after months of dithering Mido eventually decided to stay with Roma and hope for a bid from Tottenham. His wish was granted and he is now enjoying himself with the Tottenham reserves.
Another exciting prospect seemingly passed up the chance to play for Rovers in the summer; Antonio Valencia, who eventually signed for Wigan. More recently, and the catalyst for this article, was the decision from highly rated Norwegian midfielder, Kristofer Haestad, to opt for Wigan instead of Rovers.
This came as a shock to me as I have long admired the attributes of Haestad and was adamant he would sign for Rovers. So why hasn`t he? Everything seemed in place for him to join his band mate, Morten Gamst Pedersen at Rovers.
I can only hope that Hughes pulled out of any deal but I can`t understand why. The mooted transfer of David Dunn will be resolved in the next couple of weeks but Haestad has the potential to be Robbie Savage`s replacement. He is a tough tackling midfield player with plenty of energy and flair. He would have provided additional options in midfield, the area Rovers are lacking in the most.
Haestad has only joined Wigan on loan but that makes even more perplexing reading as to why Hughes didn`t take up that option, being such an advocate of that approach to bringing players in.
My concern is that he in fact opted for Wigan over Rovers and could that have been down to something Gamst has said? If he actually did decide to choose another club as notorious other targets such as Mido did then that doesn`t bode well for Rovers.
With a number of players linked with Rovers how many will actually see the club as an attractive prospect?
Date:Tuesday January 2 2007
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