Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray believes AFC Bournemouth’s bids for Joe Rothwell during the January transfer window wasn’t made with the intent of derailing their season, speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph.
The two Championship sides were competing for the second automatic promotion spot during the winter with Mowbray’s men flying after managing to put together an unbeaten run that lasted from November until January.
During that latter month, the Cherries submitted multiple bids including their final offer of a reported £3.5m, a figure that many sides would have been tempted to cash in on considering the midfielder’s contract expires in the summer.
Quiz: Which club did Blackburn Rovers sign these 24 players from in the 1990s?
The player himself was seemingly interested in a potential move to the Vitality Stadium with the 27-year-old expressing his wish to speak to other clubs, though this request was ignored with the Lancashire side rejecting all offers for his services.
Since the winter window, Mowbray’s side have struggled and have even fallen out of the top six altogether whilst the Cherries have remained in second spot.
However, Blackburn’s boss wasn’t keen to put any blame on Scott Parker’s side and their transfer approach for Rothwell for their decline in recent months.
Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, he said: “I don’t think that was the case.
“I think Bournemouth made a very good financial offer to another football club and our club had to make a decision as to whether we accepted that offer.
“The boy has been very professional and worked really hard on the back of the decision the club made. He might not have done that, but he has and contributed with his performance level.”
A player of Rothwell’s quality was always going to be the subject of interest from other clubs, especially with his contract expiring at the end of the season and that’s why it’s no surprise that the Cherries launched a bid for his services.
They probably made this move knowing that they would be harming a promotion rival if this deal was agreed and that was just another advantage of getting this deal over the line – but would they have offered to pay as much as £3.5m if they just wanted to unsettle Rovers?
Probably not and this is why Mowbray’s verdict on the Cherries’ motives is probably right, though Blackburn won’t exactly be thanking their second-tier rivals for this saga with the midfielder being left out of two games.
In fairness, the Lancashire club did win four points from six during those matches but they could have easily made that six with a victory instead of a 0-0 draw against Luton Town considering the attacking qualities he has.
It would be no surprise to see Parker’s side make another move for the 27-year-old if he leaves Ewood Park in the summer, something that’s looking more and more likely at this stage.