Blackburn Rovers’ transfer window could be about to get very active in the coming days and weeks thanks to the sale of Adam Armstrong finally going through.
The prolific striker got off the mark on his debut for Southampton this afternoon following his £15 million move, and at the same time his former club were playing out a 1-1 draw at The Den when they took on Millwall.
Ben Brereton Diaz’s second half equaliser meant that Rovers took a share of the spoils back to Lancashire, and even though the matches are coming thick and fast work needs to be done off the pitch to recruit some new faces for the playing squad.
Attackers will no doubt come in but Tony Mowbray also wants centre-backs and ideally would like to recruit one or two loanees, per the Lancashire Telegraph.
With Mowbray being a manager who likes to bring in young Premier League talents, let’s look at three defenders that Rovers could target to bring into Ewood Park.
This will be a familiar name to Rovers fans as Branthwaite spent the second half of the 2020-21 campaign on loan from Everton.
The tall defender had starred in League Two for Carlisle which led to the Toffees purchasing him, and he linked up with Blackburn to gain some more senior experience and played 10 times under Mowbray last season.
However he was shaky on occasion and started five games in a row that Rovers lost in the month of February, and he was dropped in favour of Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Branthwaite did actually get back into the side for an April victory over Derby County but his season was ended early thanks to an ankle injury – there’s a player there to develop if given the chance and some poor performances last season can be forgiven for a 19-year-old.
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Williams probably didn’t expect to see as much game-time as he did at Liverpool last season, but due to the defensive injury crisis the club had the 20-year-old 19 times in all competitions for the Reds.
Quite astonishing for a player who was on loan at National League North side Kidderminster Harriers the season prior, and it was clear to see in some of his performances that he probably wasn’t quite ready to be starting at a club the size of Liverpool.
That isn’t to say that he didn’t have some good outings – he did as it goes – but he could really benefit from a season in the Championship now that the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are back and Liverpool will see what Rovers did with Harvey Elliott and be impressed.
The one issue that may cause Williams to not be a target though is the fact that he is a Preston North End fan and they are rivals with Rovers, so that one may not be a goer unless he can put club rivalry aside.
Like when Rovers developed Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott last season, Blackburn and Manchester City will have a decent enough relationship thanks to the link-up of Taylor Harwood-Bellis last season, who played 19 Championship games for the club.
With Harwood-Bellis now at Anderlecht though, Rovers would have to look elsewhere when it comes to the Premier League champions and there may be another top prospect available in Finley Burns.
Burns has only just turned 18, however he was a regular for City’s under-23 squad last season, playing 18 times in the Premier League 2 and EFL Trophy.
City broke a record in 2017 to sign Burns from Southend United when he was just 13 years old, paying £175,000 for his services, but he’s clearly developed into a top talent and he could take his first steps into senior football with Rovers.