Millwall boss Gary Rowett has made it clear that the Championship club would be keen to sign Arsenal defender Dan Ballard permanently at the right price but that they’re prepared to look for other options.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a successful loan spell with the Lions last season – making 33 appearances and establishing himself as part of Rowett’s first choice back three when fit.
Ballard has returned to parent club Arsenal this summer but reports have suggested the Premier League outfit are open to cashing in on him in the upcoming window while sources have informed News At Den that there will be significant competition for his signature.
Millwall will be among the clubs in pursuit of the Northern Ireland centre-back but Rowett has made it clear that the price would have to be right for him to return to The Den for the 2022/23 campaign.
He told News At Den: “Would we want to bring Dan Ballard back to the club at a price that we felt was the right price for us? Of course, we would.
“But Arsenal have got a young player and they might have different ideas.
“The point is they may be open to it. We’d certainly be keen if there was an opportunity because he performed so well last year.
“Like any of these deals in the summer, they have to fit around what we want to do. They have to fit around how we see the team developing for next season.
“If they do we can move forward. If they don’t then it’s quite simple, we have to look for other options.
“Dan’s a really good player, he’s got so much potential and I think a lot of clubs would be keen to bring Dan in next season.”
A product of the Arsenal academy system, Ballard has has never featured for the Gunners first team but spent time out on loan at Swindon Town and Blackpool before securing his move to the south London club last summer.
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This stance should come as no surprise to Millwall supporters but they’ll be excited to at least be in the race for the defender.
He was excellent last season and looked to be enjoying his football at the Den, which may be an advantage given the competition the Lions are likely to face for his signature.
Rowett has done an excellent job on a tight budget in south London and he was never going to be able to blow other teams out of the water to win the race for Ballard – particularly as Jed Wallace may need to be replaced this summer.
Millwall will be lining up other targets in case the 22-year-old cannot be signed but it would be no surprise if he is top of their list.