Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has admitted that the club are still in the hunt for a goalkeeper in the summer transfer, despite the recent arrival of Christian Walton from Brighton.
Having spent the last two seasons on loan at Wigan Athletic, Walton has now signed a season-long loan deal at Ewood Park, where he looks set to take the place of last season’s number one David Raya, whose move to Brentford was confirmed earlier in the transfer window.
Though it looks like it will be Walton who takes the place of Raya, it appears that the club are still in the market for another option to provide competition for the 23-year-old in the coming campaign.
Here, we look at why that decision to attempt to bring in another goalkeeper between now and the end of the window is the right move for Rovers to make.
It gives them another reliable option
If Blackburn are to bring in another ‘keeper between now and the end of the window, it looks as though it will be a more established, experienced stopper at this level, with Scott Carson among those to have been considered.
With Walton still only 23-years-old, having that experience behind him could be useful, both in terms of helping the Brighton man develop his game further, and also helping him to keep his focus in order to avoid losing his place.
Walton was impressive at this level with Wigan last season, but he was prone to the odd error, and having another reliable goalkeeper at this level would be of some reassurance for Rovers should those worrying moments become more frequent for the youngster.
Right now Jayson Leutwiler is Rovers’ only other senior goalkeeper within the squad, and with just five Championship appearances under his belt for the club – during which his shot-stopping has impressed though the command of his area has at times been wanting – you don’t feel he quite has the pedigree to fulfil that role.
Walton won’t be here forever
While Walton has secured Rovers have a number one for the upcoming season, the club are still currently lacking a long-term replacement for Raya.
As Mowbray’s comments when discussing Walton’s signing seem to have made clear, there is very little chance of the 23-year-old returning to Ewood Park beyond the end of the season, meaning they will be under pressure to find yet another goalkeeper this time next year if they do not sort something now.
Having that uncertainty hanging over the club throughout the coming campaign is unlikely to be helpful, regardless of how Walton performs, so bringing someone into the club who can offer them the security of a permanent number one at Ewood Park now will certainly put some minds at rest around the club going forward.
It was always in the plan
Long before reports linking Raya with a Brentford had even emerged, there had been talk of Rovers bringing in a second, established goalkeeper in the summer transfer window.
The thinking appeared to be that with little clear competition for his spot, Raya had allowed his focus to slip at times, leading to costly errors for the club, while also creating some concern around any potential absence through injury for the Spaniard, something which can happen at any club or with any goalkeeper.
Given that is the case, it does make sense for any club to have two reliable, established goalkeepers at the level they are playing, and as a result of Raya’s earlier this month, that is still a situation that Rovers have yet to put themselves in, even with the arrival of Walton.
Bringing in another goalkeeper does therefore seem a sensible move for Rovers, and they will need to do so if they are to make up the numbers that they had been aiming for for next season following the end of the previous campaign.