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Blue blood

Tony's Transfer Record Part 2

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So last year I started a thread to evaluate our signings from last season and assess how TM had done in the transfer market. Now that the doom and gloom has lifted somewhat from the most awful run I've seen in my living memory (duration, results and abject performance all being criteria in that moniker) I thought it'd be good to see how people thought TM had done this year. 

Last year we saw a mix of some excellent signings who played a key part in our success (Dack and Smallwood) as well as a raft of flops (Harper, Gladwin) and a rather expensive flop of a marquee signing (Whittingham) leading to an overall conclusion of meh or at best ok. Now's the time to evaluate this season's crop of transfers. 

Please note: this is not about who TM didn't buy or his lack of signing players for certain positions, but evaluating what who he did buy. Fans and critics alike acknowledge we should have strengthened in January and should have strengthened the defense and I don't want this to be yet another statement of this, but rather get people's thoughts of how well he does when he actually buys players.

I think this is especially pertinent given advocates of TM say give him the summer to sort it. That's only any good IF he can sort it in the summer. Last season's evidence was very 50:50 not inspiring confidence in TM undertaking a revamp of the squad, and below is my consideration of how he has done this year, to see what confidence could or should be placed in TM improving the squad. 

 

So my thoughts are as follows: 

Joe Rothwell - 8  Good cover for Dack, or much more preferably as attacking left mid, Eothwell also could play as one of the two sitting midfielders and drive forward more in my book. He's consistently been one of our best players when on the pitch and it's no surprise our mini-upturn in form has been because Rothwell has played. Didn't cost loads and has youth on his side, a really astute signing for TM. The only question is why it's taken so long for him to force his way into the first team... 

Reed - 9. Does everything I want from a deep lying midfielder. Sadly I'm not the manager. However he has looked a cut above and visibly improved the team when he has played, and also has versatility which is needed in a club like Rovers when we can't carry a huge squad. Perhaps that hindered him in getting shunted about, but as a quality player being spotted for a position we needed improvement in (I'm especially sick of Evans being in a Rovers shirt) was an astute buy. Shame it wasn't a loan to buy. 

Palmer - 3. Far too much of a show pony for my liking, and really didn't produce the goods for us at all. Given TM likes hard working defensive attacking wide players I do wonder how Palmer managed to start a lot on the right. Didn't work hard. Always tried one trick too many. Didn't make much happen. A right waste of space imo. I'm not convinced he's all that good as his better impact at Bristol seems to be as a super sub. A heck of a lot of talent, but the brains of a rocking horse, whether it was cover for Dack, the attacking right mid spot or super sub he failed on all 3 counts. He didn't look teachable to me either, and on performance and character seemed a heck of a flop. Shame as Bristol are showing that even a show pony has uses if managed properly, but goodness me not what we needed to improve the fist 11 and he didn't.

Armstrong - 6 this was the toughest one to rate for me. I really think he has been poor out wide this season out wide, and hasn't contributed much at all in terms of goals or assists. That said I totally think he was a good signing at the time. He had pace, had bags of potential, fee was reasonable, versatile giving plan B as a striker and can operate on the wing, known to the club and performed well last season - definitely the sort of player we should have been signing. Bit gutted it's not worked very well, but hard to criticize TM for signing him. 

Rodwell - 4 Given he was brought as a defender this was a bad signing imo. Being marginally better than Mulgrew and Williams is not much of an achievement, and when you're first choice centre halves are both injury prone signing another injury prone one seems to make even less sense. We've not had any problems but had reservations about his attitude too, and whilst I'm not blaming him for the malaise of the last couple of months, he didn't strike me as the type to buck the trend there. Might have been decent as a defensive mid, but given we have a host of defensive centre mids he was never going to get a look in there. Mind you that's a pointless argument - he was brought as a defender, and he was really not the type of defender we needed whatsoever. Only saving grace was the deal seemed a sensible one. 

Chapman - 2 I quite liked the look of Chapman in his first spell, but what the hell is the point of signing a player you're never going to play and doesn't fit your system/tactics? I'm not convinced it's all injury related - which is why I'm not including Davenport in here, as I think that's injury related - given he played for Boro a few times. Given he doesn't trust the lad at all and won't play him this is a waste of a wage. Hopefully this trend can be bucked now we've achieved safety and Chapman won't prove to be a waste, but really what is the point of signing someone you won't play at all? 

Bereton - 0 Best till last, an absolute clanger on so many fronts. Firstly we utterly needed to not be reliant solely on Graham, so whoever came in had to be Championship ready. Bereton clearly isn't and therefore wasn't fit for purpose. I'm not all that convinced that he has that much potential either. Then there's the fee that's factored in. As a free or a million quid Bereton would be a poor signing. At £7 million, it's an outrageous failure. Put it this way, for half that amount we could have the chap who went to Villa (McGinn?) and Bauer. Not saying we'd have got them but just for value comparison purposes. To spunk £7 million on one player who has made zero contribution is an appalling waste of funds. It would have been a clanger back in the Premiership, now in the championship blowing 75% of our budget on a guy who can't get in the first team much less improve it is a horrendous mistake. It's big money for Rovers and has massively backfired. The only speck of light is he is young enough to improve but I am skeptical  as to his quality and feel the pressure of a £7 million tag is going to be too much. Put it this way last time we spent similar money we got 20+ goals from Rhodes. Not sure how long it'll take Bereton to chalk up that many goals for us, if at all. 

 

So looking at it, again for the second year running it seems very hit and miss. The hits are good - Rothwell and Reid in particular.  The problem is the misses are very bad too and have a significant impact on us. Worryingly for the second year running the most expensive signing has been an utter flop, with the downside this time being it took up most of our budget. Given the 50:50 (at best) transfer success, I'm somewhat doubtful as to TM's ability to turn things round in the summer. 

These are my thoughts, how about others?  

   

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Brereton casts a disproportionate shadow given the fee. For us to spend so much on one player is significant, for that signing never to have nailed down a starting berth raises a lot of questions as to the logic. It’s hard to see how this one turns around, Shades of Davies & Grabbi I fear though I’d be delighted to be proved wrong.

i’d cut TM a deal of slack on loan signings, I tend to think of those as being gambles on fringe players. If they come off, great; if not, you keep the receipt & return the goods ! The issue this season is that Mowbray’s best signing has been a loan player in Reed who really looks the part and became anything but a fringe player. I understand taking the gamble on Palmer (& similarly last year on Harper...) but neither worked out.

Rodwell...meh...some classy touches hinting at what once was but he failed to nail down a regular spot. Not convinced he’s a centre back, unless he plays alongside an absolute beast.

Chapman...always going to be one for next season given fitness. Hope rather than expectation.

Armstrong worth it for the money. Think we can get more out of him.

Rothwell has emerged late in the season to demonstrate real potential.

 

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Tony can spot an attacking player, defenders not so much. Midfielders he can spot too, just not with a view to playing them in their position. 

He is a complicated character is our Tony. 

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Just now, Bigdoggsteel said:

Tony can spot an attacking player, defenders not so much. Midfielders he can spot too, just not with a view to playing them in their position. 

He is a complicated character is our Tony. 

Thats whats quite odd. he has a good eye in the main for attacking flair, Dack, Rothwell, Chapman but has used the latter two as much as he should have done in my opinion. Also, being a CB (and a very solid one at that) as a player, its also odd how he doesnt seem able to spot a defender or indeed set up a defense. 

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Given his age, pace and price i think Armstrong is a solid 7, got himself a few goals and has been unlucky hitting the woodwork 4-5 times with good efforts. For a period around January he was unplayable, he absolutely ruined Brentford, not many other players I can say that about. There's definitely more to come from him though, we can all see that and I think that's why some of the fans tend to be a little bit harsh on him. Personally I would like to see the manager be a little bit wiser with how he uses him, if he's isn't going to start him out wide then save him to bring on for Graham for the last 25 and get him chasing balls on the shoulder. 

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In answer to your question @Blue blood (I can see others are struggling with your clear instruction ;)) my evaluation is as follows:-

Rothwell - 6 - He has ability but as he's only started a few games you couldn't possibly give him any more than a 5 or 6. Tony's bought him and never played him. Therefore it's a poor signing on the basis of this season. He gets a 6 because he has potential. 

Reed - 7 - excellent for most of the season considering he's played the most of that in not his favoured position. I don't think he's a 'deep lying midfielder' either. He's an all-action box-to-box type. If Mowbray goes with the 4-3-3 pressing game ( fashionable at the moment because of L/pool and England and praised by Mowbray) next season Reed would be perfect for the right hand side of the 3 in midfield. 

Palmer - 4 - played out of position and not utilised properly (there's a theme here). Palmer looks like a No10 and nothing else, the type you give a free role. Undoubted ability on the ball but properly not best suited to wide midfield. 

Rodwell - 5 - Good when doing the football side, good in the air but he's a liability doing the basic defending  (tracking men, defending someone running at him in the box). I wouldn't sign him as a CB (maybe cover) but if he's fit enough it may be worth a new 12 month contract. Injury prone and hasn't played a lot, however, so probably not worth the cost.

AA - 6 - Not  a great footballer but I think he'd be a very good striker at the right level in the right team. He's shown himself an excellent finisher at times. He's never a winger though. In a 4-3-3 a bit narrower he may be perfect. He needs a passer in midfield to give him the ball because some of his runs are excellent too. 

Chapman - 3 - Hasn't played and didn't play when he was last here (1 start). Lots of potential but not really Mowbray's type of player so no idea why he signed him again.

BB - 2 - £7m 'nuff said. Not his fault but whoever agreed that price needs sacking. A young kid who has a chance of being a decent player but sometimes doesn't even look like a footballer. Baffling signing. 

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Just now, blueboy3333 said:

In answer to your question @Blue blood (I can see others are struggling with your clear instruction ;)) my evaluation is as follows:-

Rothwell - 6 - He has ability but as he's only started a few games you couldn't possibly give him any more than a 5 or 6. Tony's bought him and never played him. Therefore it's a poor signing on the basis of this season. He gets a 6 because he has potential. 

Reed - 7 - excellent for most of the season considering he's played the most of that in not his favoured position. I don't think he's a 'deep lying midfielder' either. He's an all-action box-to-box type. If Mowbray goes with the 4-3-3 pressing game ( fashionable at the moment because of L/pool and England and praised by Mowbray) next season Reed would be perfect for the right hand side of the 3 in midfield. 

Palmer - 4 - played out of position and not utilised properly (there's a theme here). Palmer looks like a No10 and nothing else, the type you give a free role. Undoubted ability on the ball but properly not best suited to wide midfield. 

Rodwell - 5 - Good when doing the football side, good in the air but he's a liability doing the basic defending  (tracking men, defending someone running at him in the box). I wouldn't sign him as a CB (maybe cover) but if he's fit enough it may be worth a new 12 month contract. Injury prone and hasn't played a lot, however, so probably not worth the cost.

AA - 6 - Not  a great footballer but I think he'd be a very good striker at the right level in the right team. He's shown himself an excellent finisher at times. He's never a winger though. In a 4-3-3 a bit narrower he may be perfect. He needs a passer in midfield to give him the ball because some of his runs are excellent too. 

Chapman - 3 - Hasn't played and didn't play when he was last here (1 start). Lots of potential but not really Mowbray's type of player so no idea why he signed him again.

BB - 2 - £7m 'nuff said. Not his fault but whoever agreed that price needs sacking. A young kid who has a chance of being a decent player but sometimes doesn't even look like a footballer. Baffling signing. 

Ain't people got time for all that jazz :)

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34 minutes ago, JacknOry said:

Thats whats quite odd. he has a good eye in the main for attacking flair, Dack, Rothwell, Chapman but has used the latter two as much as he should have done in my opinion. Also, being a CB (and a very solid one at that) as a player, its also odd how he doesnt seem able to spot a defender or indeed set up a defense. 

I wonder is that because he thinks defending is easy. Which I suppose when you break it down to its purest form, it is. Positions yourself well, watch your man, win headers, put in blocks, don't over commit unless you have no other option. Well that was enough in the past, now you have to be better on the ball and you also have to be super careful with tackling, much more so than the past. 

Something is leading him to struggle with this aspect of the team and if I remember correctly he had a similar CB issue at Coventry. 

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I think Palmer was brought in just in case anything happened to Dack. I'd give Rodwell another season if he wants one. Armstrong isn't a winger and I can't see up playing him in his best position which is alongside a target man. We don't even try this when we're playing catch up football. Chapman is a gamble albeit not an expensive one. The Brereton signing is a complete mystery to me, even the much mocked John O'Mara got 12 goals for us. 

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I don't see why we can't use Rodwell as a midfielder. He could replace Reed in the squad then and we could spent most of our budget on a CB and a striker. Rodwell and davenport could be like 2 new signings in the middle, Buckley likewise. 

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I think I'd have to give two ratings, in terms of the potential I think they have and how Tony has used them so far...

Rothwell - 8 for potential, 5 for usage this season as Tony has waited far too long to bring him into the first team

Reed - 9 for potential as a Championship midfielder, 6 for usage this season as he's been shunted out wide repeatedly with some good and some not so good performances

Palmer - 6 for potential, 2 for usage. Tony had no idea what to do with him.

Armstrong - 7 for potential, 6 for usage. Had a great January, mostly average to poor for the rest of the season. A decent buy considering the price.

Rodwell - 5 for potential, 3 for usage. Has looked a calamity at times at CB and was simply the wrong option to rely on as cover for our other injury-prone CBs.

Chapman - 7 for potential, 0 for usage as he hasn't been used at all. 

Brereton - 6 for potential, -10 for usage. He showed at Forest there is talent there, but we paid an outrageous fee, have only played him ineffectively out wide every so often and the simple truth is that he has not contributed anything despite being here since August. A waste of time and a hell of a lot of money. We can only hope pre-season does him some good.

So for me a lot of potentially decent signings there, but all wasted by Mowbray's inability to slot them into the team effectively or in some cases at all. Very frustrating. I don't think the manager has, over the course of the season, got anything close to the best out of any of his signings which is very concerning. The closest is probably Armstrong.

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3 hours ago, blueboy3333 said:

In answer to your question @Blue blood (I can see others are struggling with your clear instruction ;)) my evaluation is as follows:-

Rothwell - 6 - He has ability but as he's only started a few games you couldn't possibly give him any more than a 5 or 6. Tony's bought him and never played him. Therefore it's a poor signing on the basis of this season. He gets a 6 because he has potential. 

Reed - 7 - excellent for most of the season considering he's played the most of that in not his favoured position. I don't think he's a 'deep lying midfielder' either. He's an all-action box-to-box type. If Mowbray goes with the 4-3-3 pressing game ( fashionable at the moment because of L/pool and England and praised by Mowbray) next season Reed would be perfect for the right hand side of the 3 in midfield. 

Palmer - 4 - played out of position and not utilised properly (there's a theme here). Palmer looks like a No10 and nothing else, the type you give a free role. Undoubted ability on the ball but properly not best suited to wide midfield. 

Rodwell - 5 - Good when doing the football side, good in the air but he's a liability doing the basic defending  (tracking men, defending someone running at him in the box). I wouldn't sign him as a CB (maybe cover) but if he's fit enough it may be worth a new 12 month contract. Injury prone and hasn't played a lot, however, so probably not worth the cost.

AA - 6 - Not  a great footballer but I think he'd be a very good striker at the right level in the right team. He's shown himself an excellent finisher at times. He's never a winger though. In a 4-3-3 a bit narrower he may be perfect. He needs a passer in midfield to give him the ball because some of his runs are excellent too. 

Chapman - 3 - Hasn't played and didn't play when he was last here (1 start). Lots of potential but not really Mowbray's type of player so no idea why he signed him again.

BB - 2 - £7m 'nuff said. Not his fault but whoever agreed that price needs sacking. A young kid who has a chance of being a decent player but sometimes doesn't even look like a footballer. Baffling signing. 

I'd say that's a fair summery

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I said on here a while back that the reserve keeper would probably get enough appearances at the end of the season to trigger an extension. He was a Mowbray & co signing after all so it'll be interesting to see how that pans out but if so there'll be no new keepers in summer of first team pedigree.

Just pray the same isn't said of Gladwin, Tonys a players man !

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Brereton - 3.5 - he won a penalty, got an assist and can tie his bootlaces in under 90 seconds flat, but mostly been played out wide rather than centrally where he apparently prefers. Not seen much yet to justify even a quarter of his price tag, but one for the future I feel.  That said, the next 3 games could be critical for his future here. Disappointing to date.

Rothwell - 7 - showed glimpses of promise early on but seemed naive; only in last few games has he realised some of his promise with 2 v strong performances in particular. Exciting bum-off-seat type of player. Has v good potential, needs to push on tho to achieve it.

Armstrong - 6 - the height of inconsistency and probably represents our season in a microcosm; sometimes unplayable (like today) but not often enough), too often seems uninterested & is frustrating. Much better value for money than BB though, to date. Overall a moderate success.

Rodwell - 5 - showed class, but needs a strong CB alongside him or yo be moved into midfield. Has obvious talent, but is his heart still in it? Was certainly happy we took a punt, would like to see him get another 12 months.

Davenport - unclassified. No-one's fault, just injuries. Sounds like a progressive-thinking player from what I hear but nothing to base that on other then hearsay.

Chapman - 2 - only because he's not featured yet. His potential is clear from last season, his pace will frighten most defences. What I am impressed with is that he's had a good long & effective run with the U23s, which bodes well for next season.

Reed - 8 - been great for us most games, though went missing a little in Feb / March (not alone there). Still think there's a chance he can come back  he clearly fit in well with the group - see his celebration after Rothwell's goal v Derby.

Palmer - 3 - just didn't work, end of. Perhaps not the type of player we needed at that time.

Overall I'd give Mowbray 5.5 for his 2018/19 transfers to date, but that could massively improve should BB, Chapman & Davenport shine.

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Rothwell-6- It should be a higher mark as he has shown nearly every time he has played he has a lot of ability however he has been terribly under used by the Manager.

Palmer-3- Like Rothwell had a lot of ability but was under used and when he was used he was played out of position. 

Armstrong-5- Has flattered to deceive to often, an excellent January but not a lot else and a return of 4 goals is disappointing. Next season a massive season for him to prove he is a good Championship player rather than just a very good League 1 player. Needs to bulk up in the summer.

Rodwell-5- Formed a good partnership with Lenihan, however much like the team his formed dipped with the return of Mulgrew. Overall he has done ok considering he is not a centre back, I would like to see him get some starts in central midfield to see if he has a future here.

Reed-8- A brilliant player who I'd love to see signed permanent. His performance in the centre of midfield at WBA was the best individual performance I have seen by a Rovers player for many years, its criminal that he did not play in his best position more but it's a testament to how good he is that he played most of the season out of position and has still been one of our best players.

Davenport and Chapman-0- Both have been fit and playing for the u23s for a while now yet still haven't made he bench, which makes you wonder were they signed for the first team of U23's.

Brereton-1- A terrible player who no matter what position he plays in does not even resemble a footballer. Mowbray can talk him up all he likes but until he starts perform anything like a £7 Million player then he will be a millstone around Mowbray's neck.

 

The biggest problem with this seasons signings is that most of them have played the majority of their game time out of positions.

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