Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray is resigned to losing some of his top stars in January despite the club being on the verge of climbing into the automatic promotion places in the Championship.
After a 7-0 drubbing by Fulham at the start of November, Rovers have gone on a sensational run of 19 points out of a possible 21, with five wins on the bounce in that time.
The latest came on Saturday afternoon in a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Birmingham City, with the prolific Ben Brereton Diaz bagging a brace to take his tally to 19 goals.
Quiz: Have Blackburn Rovers signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
Rovers are in somewhat of a safe position though with the Chile international as he essentially has 18 months left on his contract – the same cannot be said for other key players though.
Darragh Lenihan, Ryan Nyambe and Joe Rothwell’s deals are all set to expire in the summer and with the mid-season transfer window approaching, none of them have penned new contracts to extend their stays at Ewood Park.
Mowbray will not want to lose any of his key players in January with his side on such a fantastic run of form, but he has conceded that there may be some tough decisions to make next month on those particular individuals.
“January is coming and if the phone rings and we have these decisions to make, what are we doing?” Mowbray said, per the BBC.
“Are we keeping them, hoping we can get over the line and then they will have a bigger decision to make if we did get to the Premier League?
“Or if that’s their ambition now, are they going to jump in January if somebody offers the right amount of money?”
“We are in danger of some of these players running out of contract very, very soon. We would like to keep them together because they are so young and dynamic and full of energy.”
“There’s a real opportunity for us with some really talented young players who are driven and motivated, yet they are on the cusp of suitors taking them and giving them more money,” added Mowbray.
“If that money is more than we can afford then we should just do the deal, move on but reinvest some money and try to find the next really talented young player to keep this club going.
“That would be sad of course but if we can’t afford them, that’s life and we have to get on with it.”
Mowbray clearly knows what the score is at Ewood Park – the Venky’s have put a lot of money into the club and with the latest accounts up to March 2021 showing a 200 per cent wages to turnover ratio, plus a £21 million loss, you can see why the owners may want to cash in.
It’s why Armstrong departed for an eight-figure fee and it’s also why they may be tempted to take the money for Brereton if it comes – but some of that always gets reinvested into the team.
With Rovers doing so well right now though, the owners need to make a decision – do they push the boat out a bit more to offer the out of contract trio better terms in an attempt to get promotion or do they stick to their guns and let the deals run down?
It’s certainly a tough call but Mowbray sounds as though he’s prepared to lose them in January – which would be a shame for the good work he’s done this season.