Club Focus – Blackburn – Formica and Rochina signed as Rovers beat the clock for promising duo

Blackburn Rovers brought in two players on the last day of the transfer window, leaving fans content with the dealings done by the club in January. Young Barcelona forward Ruben Rochina arrived in Lancashire, as did Argentinean attacking midfielder Mauro Formica. The youngsters had been linked with the Blues for some time – and manager Steve Kean did expect another body in before the close of business – but to beat the clock and capture both players was a real achievement for a side who now have plenty of attacking options.

Rochina rejected the chance to continue his stay in Spain and Rovers snapped him up in a deal which is expected to have cost less than £1m. The striker will now fight it out with Roque Santa Cruz, Nikola Kalinic, Jason Roberts, Benjani and Mame Biram Diouf for a place in the starting line-up. Meanwhile, Rovers are thought to have paid around £3m for the exciting Formica, who has been dubbed the next Juan Roman Riquelme by some in his home country, whilst Kean himself sees Formica as a young Gabriel Batistuta. The former Newell’s Old Boys player certainly has a lot to live up to based on those comparisons.

In addition to the aforementioned signings, Rovers also managed to capture Santa Cruz and Jermaine Jones on loan during the window, giving them added quality up front and also adding a strong midfielder in to the mix. Jones’ arrival was needed, seeing as the Blues have been light in midfield all season due to injuries, and Santa Cruz’s second-coming means there is now a lot of competition for places in attack. Another noteworthy piece of transfer news is that El Hadji Diouf sealed a late loan deal to join Scottish outfit Rangers. The Senegalese player was a favourite under Sam Allardyce, but found himself warming the bench since Kean’s appointment as manager. Early indications from fans’ comments on message boards suggest the club will be more than able to cope with his loss.

This window has been very promising for Blackburn. Over the past few seasons, the Lancashire side have been used to losing players rather than bringing many in. The arrival of four good footballers has changed that. Also, the likes of Formica and Rochina are young, creative players, something which has particularly delighted the fans. Under Allardyce, they were used to seeing defenders and defensive midfielders brought in to aid his direct style of play. Now, Kean is bringing in more inventive players to the squad to add to the creative spark of young David Hoilett and Martin Olsson. Fans are encouraged by the new style of football Kean is offering, and also the players he is bringing in to work in a more attractive system.

Rovers face Spurs tonight in a game which will not feature Santa Cruz, with the Paraguayan missing out through injury. Formica and Rochina are also expected to miss out as they adjust to life in England, but the feel good factor is back at Ewood Park, and that alone could help the home side take all three points against Harry Redknapp’s men.

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