Newcastle only three points off 5th in the end. That mid season blip came back to haunt them.
Am very interested to see who comes in through the Blackburn door over the summer.
The right player(s) could turn you into a solid top 10 side.
Excellent signings could get you up and around the Euro places.
Grimes signs with Rovers
As was to be suspected, Grimes was the first player to sign a contract with the club. Interestingly, Swansea accepted a bid of just ú1.2M although he was listed as being valued at ú1.7M and he certainly has shown his value while on loan from Swansea between January until May!
Remarkably, Lens (and not Jason Steele) was chosen by the fans as the Player of the Year.
Finding new players to join the club is a problem, though. Rovers is not an attractive club (yet) for the better players. And we don't want to signs five new players for ú2M each like we did last year. Bilal signed on a Bosman and Grimes had already shown what he can do for us while on loan, but any other new players need to be definite improvements or there's no point to it.
Maximilian Arnold was willing to sign a contract but he demanded wages about three times as high as our best paid player! We would also have to pay the German club no less than ú12.5M so we decided against that. Capoue preferred Bordeaux to Rovers, Middlesbrough refused to let Van Roon go and the same goes for Feyenoord and Van Beek.
And that is only a sample. We talked with Bony and some other strikers but why pay ú10M to ú15M for s striker when Lens is still our supporters' favourite player and a big reason they come to Ewood Park?
And there aren't too many cheap players who would really make a difference. It does mean that we probably will have to spend money on a key player, most likely a defensive central midfielder as Akpan is simply not good enough for this level and AkÚ is not consistent enough (and he is our best paid player!). Perhaps AkÚ will indeed prove to be more useful as defender.
Hmm, not sure what the best approach would be. Personally, I'd perhaps look to sign 3/4 reasonable players for a good price to give you better options in the team. Not sure the best thing is to splash the cash on one player.
Great to see Grimes signed up for next year.
That is far too sensible an approach. You may get sacked from this forum for showing excesive prudence. Where is your speculate to accumulate philosophy gone to ?
I'm not sure that I get the priority on a defensive midfielder when scoring goals has been the issue. How many did Lens get in the end and how many did your second best forward get ? I'm sure that there is an upgrade out there if you look for them.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
But somehow I believe we need another Akpan first. I think the DMC position is crucial and AkÚ was sort of hopeless (way too inconsistent) last season. So i am going to follow my heart, I think.
Nothing available from the relegated teams?
Beast of a DM in Africa Challenge - cheap as well - Mark Sekeyre (not sure in surname spelling)
Rovers sign Muhamed Besic
Rovers have signed Muhamed Besic, Everton's 25-year-old defensive midfielder! Besic will fill a crucial role in our team, that of defensive central midfielder who will not only protect the back four, but who will also produce assists and score goals. Besic is supposed to be the key player the rest of the team can count on, muck like Akpan's role when we still played in the Championship.
The Board was willing to spend a lot of money on Besic, who did not demand extravagant wages, and our staff are excited and expect great things of him already.
Meanwhile, Bilal Basacikoglu has joined us on a Bosman transfer and has started training with the lads. On paper Bilal is as good as either Marshall or Bennett and he can play both as left winger and as right winger so it will be interesting to see what happens there. Bilal is more than eager to prove himself. In fact, a little too eager, according to some pundits!
And of course there is Matt Grimes. Grimes has recently turned 23 and the big question is, will he deliver as an official Rovers player, like he did during his loan spell? Some pundits are sceptical, others have already become fans of Grimes, who scored seven goals and provided four assists and was named Man-of-the-Match three times in just 17 appearances during his 4 months' loan period last season!
And finally we have added a couple of youth players to the first team.
First there's Ryan Nyambe (DRC) who has already made quite a few appearances in the first team and who deserves his big chance this new season. He will start as central defender.
And then there's Callum Hendry (20) our young striker who is extremely talented (PA 150+) and has been recommended by all our staff to get some game time with the first team this new season. He may need more time with the reserves as well, though.
The question is, will this be enough? Or should we try and find some additional players on a free transfer, or perhaps on loan?
Perhaps the traditional friendlies against the three teams from Rotterdam (Excelsior, Sparta and Feyenoord) will give us some indication...
That is a hell of a lot of money for a defensive midfielder. I hope that it works out, but it is a big risk. I still think youneed another attacking player as you rely too much on Lens, who I don't think willl ever be a 20 goal a season striker.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Besic still a beast in CM although not really played for past couple of years IRL
Yep - lot of cash indeed. A positions that was needed though as Ake should be played in defence
Competition for Lens and some quality midfield also needed
Crikey, that's a big fee for what I see as an underwhelming name. Hope it works out!
So that leaves the striker position. But Rome was not build in a day, as they say.
Last edited by samsami; 02-02-17 at 10:27 AM.
Fair point, it is a long term game so adding pieces to the jigsaw one by one each season will hopefully work out for you.
I'll keep an eye out for Hendry, it'll be interesting to see if he develops.
On Sunday 30th July 2017 we played our first friendly against Excelsior Rotterdam in front of a crowd of 13,657 and it should hardly come as a surprise that Lens and Grimes were the ones to score our goals!
Lens scored with a superb half-volley after a great pass by Jason Lowe while Grimes scored with a header after a corner taken by Ben Marshall. You could almost call that their trade-mark after last season!
We brought on five subs in the second half and Callum Hendry, who replaced Lens, actually played quite decently. AkÚ was disappointing, though.
Flanagan was named Man-of-the-Natch and Besic also made his mark on his unofficial debut. Of course, Excelsior is not a big team and certainly not Premier League level, but the crowd were pleased to see Besic play so well. In fact, they seemed eager to adopt our most important signing of the season on his first appearance already.
On Friday 4th August we played Sparta Rotterdam in front of a crowd of 13,904 and this time it was Matt Grimes who provided the assist and Elliott Bennett who scored our only goal.
In the second half we brought on three subs and this time AkÚ actually played remarkably well. Of course, that is part of the problem with AkÚ, his inconsistency.
Another good team performance. Besic especially played fantastically and this time he was named Man-of-the-Match.
And finally, on Wednesday 9th August we played Feyenoord Rotterdam in front of a slightly larger crowd of 19,007 and after a very poor start with two early Feyenoord goals, Lowe and Lens found the net for us just before half-time.
In the second half we brought on AkÚ, Bilal and Callum Hendry. Hendry replaced Lens again but this time he failed to make an impression.
Once again, Besic was our best player. There's little doubt that for the time being he is the crowd's favourite! Of course, most of our fans are still on holiday, but on social media a lot of fans are talking about our new key player already.
So are we ready for the new season? On Saturday 19th August we will start with an away game against newly promoted Charlton Athletic F.C.
Decent results in the friendlies, but the hard work is about to start. Need to make a statement early against Charlton.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Hopefully Ake just needs to bed into a new position. He'll be like a new signing if he gets into form.
Solid pre-season to build confidence
Besic being BEASTLY already
Hopefully Ake shows the potential he has, IRL, for you
A dream start to the new season
On Saturday 19th August we played newly promoted Charlton Athletic F.C. at The Valley. And what an incredible game it was!
Charlton had managed to sign none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic (almost 37 now) to form a striker partnership with Nicky Ajose. Ajose had scored no less than 36 goals in the Championship last year and in south-east London much is expected of the striker duo!
But whereas Charlton hardly seemed ready for the new season our midfield played remarkably well and with Besic, Grimes, Marshall and Lens all in top form we literally demolished The Addicks! In fact, demolish is a bit of an understatement!
After Bennett, Besic, Lens and Grimes had all missed decent scoring chances it was good old Ben Marshall who found the net after Klavan had lifted the ball towards him in the area. And just five minutes later Grimes doubled our lead after a long forward run followed by a pot-shot at goal. There were further chances for Bennett and Lowe but a 0-2 lead at half-time was already luxury for us!
Initially, there was less excitement in the second half and after Zlatan had been brought off we decided to bring on AkÚ for Klavan and Bilal for Bennett to give those two some much-needed game time.
Lens was the next one to find the net after a poor goal-kick by Jakupovic. He picked up the loose ball and scored with a fierce strike from just outside the penalty area. And with four minutes remaining Lens unselfishly squared the ball for Bilal who was left unmarked and simply applied the finish to score on his official debut!
Now obviously this is the kind of attacking play we'd like to see every week! A dream start to the new season!
Our next match will be at home against Stoke City who defeated Crystal Palace (2-0) in their opening match of the season.
But perhaps we can first sign one last player on a free transfer or on loan before the transfer window closes?
Sell Ake while you can. Get Veltman, Tete, Nouri, vd Beek, Kongolo, Karsdorp or some such
Who is LB? Flanno or Klavan? Ake needs a run at LB and I think he will come good
What a fantastic win to start the season!