This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Watford will offer Blackburn Rovers the chance to sign Andre Gray as part of a deal to bring Adam Armstrong to Vicarage Road, a report from The Sun has claimed.
Armstrong is in high demand this summer following his 29 goals in all competitions for Rovers last season, and now Watford have seemingly joined the race for the 24-year-old.
According to this latest update, the Hornets will offer Blackburn the chance to sign Gray, as well as cash, in their attempts to win the race for Armstrong, as they prepare for a return to the Premier League following promotion last season.
Since joining Watford from Blackburn’s local rivals back in 2017, Gray has scored 21 goals in 125 appearances in all competitions for the Hornets.
So would Gray be a good signing for Blackburn? And is he a player they need to bring to Ewood Park?
We asked some of our Football League World writers for their thoughts, and here, is a look at what they had to say.
I don’t think this would be a wise move from Blackburn’s perspective.
Gray has shown in the past that he can perform to a high standard in the Championship, having impressed for Brentford and Burnley at this level.
But Armstrong is a tough player to replace for Rovers, with the forward being in excellent form in the last couple of seasons for the Lancashire-based side.
At the age of 24, he’s still got plenty of room to develop, and Blackburn wouldn’t be getting a fair deal with a swap deal for Gray, unless there is a sizeable fee also involved in any potential agreement.
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Andre Gray is a player that would thrive in the correct Championship team, and personally, Blackburn is that club.
Gray is one of the quickest players the Championship has seen and he has the attacking intelligence to match. Blackburn are stacked with creativity and players looking to unlock opposing defences and rely on movement from their front men. This is a system that has brought Armstrong so much joy, and Gray would experience that too.
The 30-year-old needs a new challenge, he has struggled for minutes over the last few years but he is a proven goalscorer who would certainly boost Blackburn’s front line.
He would have big shoes to fill though as Armstrong has been excellent over the last few years and deserves to be playing top tier football. However, he is not irreplaceable.
No. Just no.
Given Gray scored just five goals in 30 league games for a Watford side who claimed promotion from the Championship pretty comfortably last season, you do wonder whether he would actually be able to fill the goalscoring void left by Armstrong.
Indeed, as a former Burnley man, there would also be plenty of pressure on Gray to make an instant impact if he does make a move to Ewood Park, and as Owen Coyle can testify, the longer it takes for things to get going, the harder it gets, which doesn’t feel like a chance Rovers are able to take.
It is also worth noting that at 30-years-old, Gray doesn’t really fit the criteria of a young player that Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray can mould and develop over time.
As a result, while I do think it would be sensible for Blackburn to agree a deal for Armstrong this summer, rather than lose him for three in 12 months time when his contract expires, this doesn’t seem to me like this is the one they should be looking to agree on.