"For a squad that is a little short of depth, the versatility offered by Sheffield United’s Phil Jagielka would be of obvious benefit"
Having lost his star asset last summer when Craig Bellamy moved to Liverpool, Blackburn boss Mark Hughes faces another transfer window where he could be more concerned with retaining key players already on the payroll, as opposed to who to bring in.
Benni McCarthy appears to be angling for a move away from Ewood Park, while Morten Gamst Pedersen isn’t short of admirers either. On the plus side Bellamy could be set for a return after failing to cement a regular starting role at Anfield. That said, his price tag seems to have risen well above that warranted by his performances on Merseyside over the past year.
James Beattie, another Rovers old boy, is a cheaper option than Bellamy, although his chronic lack of form over recent years is an obvious concern. The permanent signing of Shabani Nonda, who spent the season on loan from Roma, might prove to be less of a gamble.
Another Welsh international, midfielder Jason Koumas, has long been linked with a move to Blackburn. It already seems unlikely that he will remain in the Championship with West Bromwich Albion but, as with Bellamy, the fee being sought could prove to be somewhat on the steep side. Reports suggest that a somewhat more surprising target might be Kristofer Haestad. Given that the Norwegian midfielder failed to make any impression during a three-month loan stint with Wigan Athletic last term, it seems that the player’s agent, Rune Hauge, could be simply touting the availability of his client.
For a squad that is a little short of depth, the versatility offered by Sheffield United’s Phil Jagielka would be of obvious benefit. As with Koumas though, the competition for his signature is likely to be fierce.
Heading for the Ewood Park exit are Andy Todd, Michael Gray and Francis Jeffers, although the rejection of two bids from Ipswich Town for the latter is difficult to comprehend given how little “the Fox in the Box” has contributed to the cause. Jason Roberts is another who might go, particularly if McCarthy stays and another high-profile striker comes in.
In truth there is little wrong with the Blackburn squad as things stand, especially with the likes of Steven Reid and Robbie Savage due back after lengthy absences. If Hughes is able to hang onto his key men and somehow secure the services of a couple of players like Koumas and Jagielka, another tilt at a top six finish next season could well be on the cards.