Permanent defensive signings will be the priority for Blackburn Rovers during the summer transfer window, manager Tony Mowbray has confirmed.
Rovers bid farewell to one defender this week as Derrick Williams left for LA Galaxay, and there is a possibility more will follow him out the Ewood Park exit door.
Full backs Ryan Nyambe and Amari’i Bell are both out of contract this summer, while left-back Barry Douglas and young central defensive duo Jarrad Branthwaite and Taylor Harwood-Bellis are all only on-loan until the end of the season.
That means Rovers could be left with just a handful of defenders come the summer, even with Harry Pickering having been signed permanently from Crewe in January, and loaned back to the League One club until the end of the season.
As a result, it now seems as though Mowbray is well aware that his side will need to add to their defence this summer, as he told the Lancashire Telegraph: “Pickering I feel is going to be a really good footballer for this club for a long time, we’ll see how the recruitment goes.
“All of the loans will go back, the out of contract players, we’ll have to see whether we can do a deal with any of them, the summer is the summer and we’ll try and keep building the club as I’ve always said.
“Ideally you get young, hungry players who are desperate to get into the Premier League and take their careers in that direction. It’s not easy. We work hard on recruitment and let’s see what the summer brings.”
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Indeed, it also seems as though Mowbray is clear he would prefer permanent to temporary signings in that position, with the Rovers boss going on to add: “I’ve always said it’s the case you want to sign footballers. Finance generally dictates that, whether you can sign your own players.
“Loans can fill holes, they can be your best players but invariably they go back to their parent clubs.
“The plan would always be to sign our own players, rather than loans, if we could so it’s not as easy as it might sign to a footballer, give him a four year deal. Let’s wait and see how it goes.”
As things stand, Blackburn are currently 15th in the Championship table, eight points clear of the relegation zone after picking up just one point from their last seven games.
It does seem pretty clear that defence will have to be something of a priority for Rovers in the summer transfer window.
With so many defenders potentially set to leave in the summer, Blackburn are simply going to have to bring in fresh cover for any potential departures, to ensure they are not left short at the back.
That does however mean that those new recruits may take time to adapt to their new surroundings, meaning it could be another challenging campaign for Rovers in that respect, as they give those players time to adjust to their roles at Ewood Park.
You also feel that while defence may be a priority for Rovers in the summer, they may not be able to focus solely on that position, given the speculation surrounding the future of top scorer Adam Armstrong at the other end of the pitch.