Club Focus – Blackburn Rovers

With the new season just days away, Blackburn Rovers are frantically searching for a quality forward to boost their meagre attacking options. The Lancashire based club have recently been linked with a number of players including John Utaka and Everton’s young striker James Vaughan. Ewood Park is even being touted as a possible destination for Manchester United forward Mame Diouf, and with Big Sam’s noticeable friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson, you would not bet against the Scot allowing Diouf to leave for Blackburn, albeit on a loan deal. Allardyce’s impressive wheeling and dealing skills saw the Englishman bring Real Madrid legend Michel Salgado to Ewood Park last season, therefore with a bit of luck and his evident powers of persuasion it seems fair to say that a new arrival is imminent.

Nevertheless, this summer has been a relatively frustrating one for the manager. Allardyce has not dipped his toes into the transfer market this window, which has concerned some fans who wish for their side to match, if not better the accomplishments of last season. With funding very limited, Blackburn’s outstanding tenth placed finish in the Premier League last campaign indicates a club punching very much above its weight. Fresh investment is required to take this club to the next level; therefore it is unsurprising that Rovers have been the subject of much speculation surrounding a possible takeover of the club.

Blackburn Rovers is a well-run, stable club run by one of the Premiership’s more highly regarded chairman in the form of John Williams. However, it has been no secret that the Walker Trust would be eager to sell to a buyer willing to develop the club. Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Sayed has stepped forward and expressed an interest in purchasing the Ewood Park outfit, with some reports also suggesting he would be prepared to inject a massive £300m into the club over a period of time. With the lack of transfer activity so far this summer, such talks of a potential takeover will be music to the ears of some eager fans who are desperate to see Rovers challenging for a European spot. Others will take such speculation as a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, talk of a potential takeover is very high at the moment and if any such move does go ahead, Rovers could be heading for a brighter future.

There may possibly be exciting times ahead in advancements off the field and fortunately for Blackburn the future of the club on the field of play is also looking very rosy indeed. Big Sam threw some of his young talent into the deep end last season and his gamble paid dividends. Phil Jones emerged as one of the brightest talents in the country after a phenomenal debut performance against Chelsea. Martin Olsson, Steven Nzonzi and Junior Hoilett also played a big role in the last campaign and will undoubtedly hold the key to any potential success Rovers have in the coming years. It is important for clubs like Blackburn to give youth a chance, as it could potentially save or earn them millions in the future. With Phil Jones raking up interest from many top teams, he could both remain at the club and become one of the Premier League’s leading centre-backs, or he could join a bigger team thus providing the club with a huge financial boost. Either way, Rovers are quids in.

David Dunn was a brilliant performer for the club last season and if they can keep him fit, Blackburn will be looking to score more goals this year. Nikola Kalinic is still very much part of Allardyce’s plans this season and the young Croatian will prove his worth now that he has got used to this physically tough and demanding league. Still, Rovers are undoubtedly short up front and the purchase of at least one more striker is a must. Should Big Sam manage to buy a quality goalscorer, then Blackburn could well match their success of last season. In a league where teams are spending more and bringing in better players, it does get more difficult for sides like Blackburn to climb higher and higher up the table. Although Rovers under Allardyce certainly seem more than capable of comfortably avoiding relegation, it is equally unlikely that the club will be challenging for the Champions League. However, with the emergence of some bright talent, a solid defensive outlook, another fantastic season of home performances and some encouragement from Allardyce, Rovers should be aiming for yet another top half finish in the Premier League.

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