After a summer of frustration for Blackburn Rovers fans, it looks like the clouds are finally breaking.
All summer we have been linked with in comings at Ewood Park only for our hopes to be dashed with transfers not being completed. The National press have gone to town with their negative bombardment towards Rovers with rumours of behind the scene's unrest, financial issue's, whilst pundits and critics have also got in on the act by backing Rovers for relegation.
Blackburn's Manager Steve Kean went on record of saying that this summer we had a very competitive transfer budget available, Going on to claim it was one of the best the club had ever had. These claims brought renewed optimism from all supporters that a more equipped squad would be assembled over the close season to ensure last season's struggle against relegation would not continue into the new season.
However what followed was the sale of Phil Jones to Manchester United in a deal which could potentially rise to around £20 Million, Although to Rovers credit they fought tooth and nail to keep the player and their determination even brought a bigger fee, than the players release clause had set..
Obviously Rovers fans were disappointed but the promise that the funds would be added to the transfer kitty softened the blow. Weeks went by and in comings were thin on the ground and after initially being linked with some of Europe's elite, Suddenly Rovers appeared to be chasing free transfers and trials.
The un-rest amongst supporters has grown all summer as promises appeared to not being kept, despite the club maintaining that its a long transfer window, fans wanted to see action.
So far this summer Rovers have parted company with 14 players with a couple more still expected to leave, whilst only Myles Anderson (Free), Bruno Riberio (Free). Radoslav Petrovic £3 Million and David Goodwillie £2.8 Million. Rovers squad being thin on the ground was very evident in their opening day home loss to Wolves as Rovers found themselves with a defensive head ache as Samba, Nelsen and Givet were rules out the game which meant Steven N'Zonzi had to be drafted to play as an emergency centre back.
Just under a week on and suddenly Rovers appear to have got their act together.
Firstly it emerged on Monday that Rovers had made a move for Spanish Legend Raul from Schalke, The iconic Spanish player who is very friendly with Rovers star Salgado had indicated he would welcome a move to East Lancashire. This news got the Rovers faithful buzzing, only for it to be dashed just hours later when Schalke refused to sanction the move. However Rovers still remain hopeful that Raul of the Rovers may still yet occur, if not in this window possibly in January.
Then the news broke that talented Montenegro star Simon Vukčević was flying in for a medical ahead of a reported £2 Million move from Sporting Lisbon. The talented attacking midfielder has long been on Rovers radar with interest going back nearly three years but the player is now finally expected to complete a move and for a bargain price as earlier in the year the asking price was believed to three times that.
Who is Simon Vukčević?
Vukčević started his career at Partizan Belgrade and Blessed with boundless confidence, he spent two years in the youth ranks in Belgrade before bursting into the first team, scoring and creating goals from midfield. He was awarded the number 1 shirt, in recognition of his popularity among Partizan supporters. He was nominated for the Best Young Serbia/Montenegrin Player Award in early 2006.His talent landing him a £7 Million transfer to Russian side Saturn in January 2006 however the move never really worked out and a fall out with their head coach saw the player move on again just 18 months later to Sporting Lisbon. His time with Sporting has seen his brilliance excel on the pitch over the last four seasons, although his career in Portugal has once again been Topsy turvy off the pitch with reported fall outs with the coaching staff. This has culminated in Sporting finally deciding to cut their losses and sanction the transfer of Simon Vukčević to Blackburn. His talent has never been in question and if Rovers can channel his temperament then this could be one of the all time bargains.
Following this news it was revealed that Bosnian International Vedad Ibišević was also in talks with Rovers ahead of a potential £6 Million move from German club 1899 Hoffenheim.
Who is Vedad Ibišević
Vedad Ibišević has played in Switzerland, USA, France and Germany. The 27 year old is widely regarded as one of the top strikers in Europe and his style of play is expected to be well suited to the rigours of the English game. After going through 5 clubs in four years where his scoring record was quite impressive, Vedad Ibišević finally found a home at Hoffenheim in 2007 where his career finally took off. His first season saw him play in 31 games scoring just 5 goals in Hoffenheim's promotion season to the top flight, However his clubs first season in the top flight would see the player put himself on the map, as he bagged 19 goals in 19 games before his season was cut short with a career threatening cruciate ligament injury. His partnership with Demba Ba saw the newly promoted side top of the league at the half way stage of the season, but following his injury Hoffenheim dropped out of contention. He returned to fitness the following season and after 7 games was back amongst the goals as he bagged the second fastest hat-trick in Bundesliga history which included the quickest goal of the season timed at just 47 seconds. His scoring record over the last 3 seasons is impressive with 42 goals from just 88 appearances whilst he has 34 caps for Bosnia with 8 goals. Over the last couple of seasons some of Europe's Elite clubs have been credited with interest in the player and if Rovers can complete this deal it will be regarded as a fantastic capture from the watching world. Vedad Ibišević currently has a thigh injury which is expected to keep him out of action until the end of September and Blackburn are hopeful that this won't effect his medical which is scheduled for today.
Blackburn have also agreed a deal for George John who has duel Citizenship which would allow him to play for either the USA or Greece. He is a defender currently playing in the MLS for FC Dallas.
Who is George John?
Aged 24 the 6ft3 Central Defender has been a full time Pro for two seasons after being drafted by FC Dallas in 2009. His displays in the MLS have not gone un-noticed with both the USA and Greece keen to tie the player down to their National teams. He has managed 65 appearances over the last two seasons and is described as big powerful defender who is comfortable on the ball. He can also be used as a defensive midfielder and in the latest MSL player rankings he is ranked as the third best player in the league with only Thierry Henry and Landon Donavon ahead of him. Although the fee at this stage is unknown its believed to be a bargain capture for Rovers and the player is expected at Ewood today to undergo a medical.
As supporters we have suddenly gone from a slow summer to three players arriving at once, but Blackburn are not done just yet.
Henri Lansbury is also hot on Rovers radar, The England under 21 International has enjoyed a couple of successful loan spells away from his parent club Arsenal and Blackburn are keen to bring the talented wide player on a permanent transfer. Arsenal earlier in the summer rejected a £1.5 Million bid from Norwich City where he spent last season on loan, however Rovers are expected to go back in with a larger bid of around £3 Million pounds are confident this deal can also be concluded this window.
In addition to Lansbury Rovers also have a bid on the table for Nedum Onuoha. The Manchester City defender has found his opportunities limited since the arrival of City's billionaire owners and spend last season on loan at Sunderland. At just 24 and comfortable playing anywhere across the back four, he fits the bill for a utility defender which the club wishes to have on their squad list for this season/ Onuoha who has also been capped for the England under 21 team and despite interest from other Premiership clubs, Steve Kean remains hopeful that a permanent transfer can be agreed for the player.
Rovers have been heavily linked with Liverpool defender Danny Wilson, Manchester City defender Anga Dedryck Boyata and Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson, Rovers are keen to bring a couple of loan players in later in this window and two from these three is the most likely outcome.
So suddenly have weeks of doom and gloom Rovers could now end this window with as many as 11 new players, and with January signings Ruben Rochina and Mauro Formica now deemed ready for first team action the future looks bright.
Blackburn's new owners always maintained judge us after 12 months, well if after 9 months all this players are wearing Blue and White halves then I can't see how there can be too many complaints.
In other news:
Ronnie Clayton Stand
Blackburn Rovers last weekend confirmed the Blackburn End would now be renamed the Ronnie Clayton stand after the Rovers legend who sadly passed away last year. Its a fitting tribute to the man who played 581 times for Rovers over a 19 year period. whilst winning 35 caps for England. As captain of club and Country Ronnie was regarded as one of the finest players of his generation.
Steve Kean gets 18 Month Driving ban
Steve Kean pleaded guilty this week at Macclesfield Magistrates court for drinking under the influence of alcohol following Rovers home draw with Manchester United in May. After initially pleading not guilty at an earlier hearing, Kean changed his plea and asked for exceptional circumstances to be heard by the court. The Rovers boss claimed he drink had been spiked after admitting only having two and half glasses of wine and a bottle of budweiser, However the court dismisses these claims and handed him an 18 month Driving ban, an £1800 fine plus court cost of around £700.