Blackburn Rovers could be forced to decide the long-term future of midfielder Joe Rothwell in the January transfer window with his contract running down.
The latest report from The Sun has revealed that Blackburn are considering cashing in on Rothwell during the forthcoming winter window to ensure that they avoid losing him for nothing at the end of the campaign.
That comes after Blackburn attempted to try and cash in on Rothwell in the summer. Brentford were interested in the midfielder in the summer, but in the end, they decided to pursue a move for another target ahead of him.
It is now believed that Rangers are leading the list of teams that are interested in making a move for Rothwell during the January window.
Rangers are thought to be weighing up making a move to sign Rothwell on a pre-contract agreement.
That could mean that Rovers miss out on the sort of fee they could recoup if they sell him to another club.
With Rangers leading the race for Rothwell, we take a look at the qualities that he could potentially bring to the table for Steven Gerrard’s side…
Versatility of being able to play in multiple positions
One thing that Rothwell will be able to bring to the table for Rangers were he to arrive at Ibrox would be his versatility.
The midfielder is comfortable operating as an attacking midfielder playing off a lone forward, in the wide positions, or a little further back at the base of a midfield two.
So far this season, Tony Mowbray has deployed the midfielder in both a number ten role and also alongside Lewis Travis at the base of Rovers’ sitting two in front of the back four in their 4-2-3-1 set up.
Rothwell has been a strong performer for Rovers in most of their opening 11 games and he offers consistency in whatever position he asked to play for Blackburn.
That sort of versatility would potentially be very valuable for Rangers especially considering that they have to play in both domestic and European club competition year in year out.
His arrival could enable Gerrard to rest other players and also move the team around to suit the qualities of the opponents that they are facing.
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Rothwell’s ability to make an impact going forwards from midfield
Another quality that Rothwell would bring to Rangers would be an extra attacking and creative threat from the middle of the park.
That could well be vital for them in tight matches and having as many players capable of chipping in with assists as possible can only be a positive for them.
So far this term, Rothwell has managed to average 0.8 shots per game, 1.3 key passes and completed 4, dribbles per match in his 11 Championship appearances. While he has also weighed in with three assists already this term.
In his 39 Championship appearances last term, Rothwell was involved in seven goals for Blackburn with three of those goals and four of those assists.
You could imagine that Rothwell will be able to up those numbers somewhat during the rest of the campaign. While you could also see him growing into a player that provides even more end product in the Scottish Premier League.
Extra strength in depth for Gerrard and ability to offer something different in a crucial area
Gerrard has got a number of options available to him in the midfield area this season with the likes of Lundstram, Glenn Kamara, Joel Aribo, Steven Davies and Juninho Bacuna available to be called upon from the start or from the bench.
However, despite that it seems that Gerrard is not yet satisfied with the makeup of his midfield options. That is why the Scottish champions appear to now be wanting to make a move for Rothwell whilst he is available due to his contract situation.
Rothwell is perhaps more of a creator in a deeper midfield role than a lot of Rangers’ other options to fill that position within their squad.
While he could also be deployed in the number ten role, or even as a wide player if they were to suffer injuries or suspensions in those areas.
Competing in domestic and European football puts a lot of demands on a squad and Rothwell would be able to offer something different for Gerrard in midfield and compete to play in a couple of different positions.