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Are Blackburn the Premier League’s richest relegation candidates?

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Blackburn Rovers may now be one of the richest clubs in the Premier League but so far there has been little activity in the transfer market this summer. While there is still plenty of time for Blackburn to splash the cash, the memories of last season’s displays will offer little hope to their fans for the coming season.

After the takeover in October 2010 by the Indian poultry company Venky’s Limited, there was a consensus that Blackburn may become another force in the premiership. There may have been some outrageous rumours linking the team with the unlikeliest of players back in January, but the lack of spending was not a bad sign. It appeared that the owners had taken a steady and measured approach.

They made sure that Steve Kean’s role as manager was known to be safe and they didn’t hit the panic button when things got a little scary in the relegation battle. So far so good? Well this summer has not been so promising. The young England star Phil Jones was sold off to Manchester United. Jones had racked up 26 league appearances in the last campaign, hardly a fringe player and surely more was to be expected this time round. But it’s not only the loss in terms of the first team. Jones’ departure showed that he considered Blackburn a team ‘in-the-making’, fancying his chances with the premiership champions.

To make matters worse, Christopher Samba is continuously being linked to Arsenal. There’s no doubt that if the man mountain were to move on this summer it would be a huge loss. Blackburn will have the resources to find a replacement and they need to – Captain Ryan Nelsen and Gael Givet will be the only experienced centre-backs and the latter has been preferred at left back for much of his time at Ewood Park. But even if they manage to bolster their options at centre-back, such disruption to the defence is unenviable. The right-back spot is also cause for concern with the aging Michel Salgado facing little competition.

Age is certainly a worry for Blackburn fans. Much of the squad are in the twilight years of their careers or have virtually no appearances at the club: Brett Emerton 32, Jason Roberts 33, Ryan Nelsen 33, Vince Grella 31, Michel Salgado 35, David Dunn 31 while Josh Morris, Grant Hanley and Jason Lowe have made less than 20 appearances between them. Pressure will undoubtedly be on the likes of Morten Gamst Pedersen, Nikola Kaliniand the injury prone David Dunn to produce going forward.

‘Dunny’ a club legend having come through the youth system is a top quality playmaker but his hulking frame has spent countless hours on the physio table over his career. If Dunn were to suffer from injuries this season, fears will be that Steven N’zonzi, Keith Andrews or the newly signed Mauro Formica will not have enough about them to dominate matches from the middle of the park.   And if Gael Givet does have to play at centre-half, the exciting Martin Olsson may well be utilised at left back limiting the Swede’s impact in the team.

The promoted teams, Norwich, QPR and Swansea may still be the favourites to suffer relegation but little appears to separate Blackburn from the likes of Wigan and West Bromwich Albion. If Christopher Samba does stay, they should still look to bring in a quality striker to partner the croatian Kalini?. The battering ram Jason Roberts has never reached double figures in a premier league season and David Hoilett is hardly prolific either notching up 5 goals in 2 seasons though in his defence he has been played out wide for periods.

Blackburn Rovers still have the resources and the time to bring in some top players and they certainly have plenty of experienced campaigners in the squad. However given their efforts last season and the prospect of losing Christopher Samba, survival looks set to be their only ambition this year.

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2 comments

  • Simon says:

    You say Rovers are rich. So far there’s no evidence whatsoever that the owners are prepared to fund the club to any degree.

    There are rumours of a £50m transfer budget and other rumours that the banks have denied the owners access to any funds at all.

    Unless you have any evidence of the former your “story” is nothing more than more rumours.

    Nice try

    Simon

    • Socrates says:

      It’s a fair point, we won’t really know unitil they do spend money. I think the point I was trying to make was that there’s not been much talk about Blackburn as being relegation candidates though I think that there is some concern from Blackburn fans. Most people believed they would make steady progress (at the very least) since the takeover but this summer they are if anything significantly weaker. Phil Jones has moved on and several key players getting on while jermaine jones and Mame Diouf return to Schalke and Man united.

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