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[Archived] News Article -> Summer Saga: Transfer Update

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With the start of the season just over a month away, Blackburn Rovers are still waiting on their first signing of the summer transfer window. Whilst the only activity so far has been the departure of Phil Jones to Manchester United, the club will also need to replace Jermaine Jones, Mame Biram Diouf and Roque Santa Cruz, who have all left Ewood Park following the end of their loan spells. Bringing in a true goalscorer appears to be the priority, but reports, both on BRFCS and in the media, suggest that Kean and the owners are also looking to add to the midfield and bring in a central defender to replace Phil Jones.

The club has been linked with a host of high-profile forwards over the past few weeks, most notably Marko Vucinic (AS Roma), Papiss Demba Cisse (SC Freiburg) and, over the past 48 hours, Jermaine Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur). The stumbling block appears to be the fee and the confusion over just how much money the owners are actually willing to spend. The £16.5m fee for Jones (possibly rising to £20m+) is to be paid in instalments, so without considerable investment by the Rao family it is unlikely that the club can make any big summer signings. Vucinic and Cisse were rumoured to be in the £15–20m range and both had large wage demands. Reports suggested that the club had envisaged a war-chest somewhere in the region of £25–30m, but over the past fortnight doubts have crept in as to how much money is actually available. Talk of splashing out big money on a forward has died down slightly, although the Defoe link may have some substance to it.

Whilst attention was focused on bringing in a star striker, it appears that the club may have missed out on one or two of the other targets that they were chasing. There were strong links with Pablo Piatti (UD Almeria), but a bid was never made and the Argentine international moved to Valencia for €7.5m. Rovers have reportedly made two bids for the Belgian international Axel Witsel (Standard Liege), but have yet to meet the valuation of the Belgian club. It looks as though the defensive midfielder will be leaving Standard Liege, although Benfica are now favourites to land the player.

To add to this disappointment, little progress has been made in finding a Phil Jones replacement. Rovers tried to hijack Atletico Madrid's move for the Brazilian defender Joao Miranda, but this proved unsuccessful. It appears as though a deal has been agreed for the Monaco central defender Cedric Mongongu, but the move has yet to be finalised as doubts over the size of the transfer budget appear to be holding back any moves.

Overall it has been a rather disappointing and confusing fortnight for Rovers fans. Initial reports of big budgets and big signings have been replaced by the all-too-familiar story of free signings and players in on trial. It will be interesting to see what the Rao-Kean-Kentaro triumvirate come up with, but whatever it is, we'll try and keep you informed here at BRFCS.

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