Forget Murdoch, the only thing football fans want to hear about when there's no football on is transfer gossip. Love it or hate it one thing's certain; it's all we think about. And for this Blackburn Rovers fan summer 2011 is turning into a summer of hate.
Back in the mid 90s summer used to be filled with joy and anticipation. For four short years Rovers were breaking transfer records left right and centre forward. Shearer came in for £3.3m, we were in for Keane but he went to Manchester United for £3.75m then we got Sutton for £5m. United got Cole for £7m. The good old days when you could get two world class footballers for £7m. You cant even get a teenager from Sunderland for twice that now. And before you start we didn’t buy the title in 95. The Man Utd eleven that played West Ham cost more than the Rovers team that played Liverpool on the final day of the season. Ferguson spent more than Dalglish. Fact.
But enough axe grinding. Back to 2011. I check 'the ear' religiously. For those of you not familiar with 'the ear' I'm referring to BBC Sport's Gossip Column page. A collection of that day's transfer tittle tattle from the next day's newspapers. Most of the time it's ridiculous speculation but it's my drug of choice. We used to feature regularly. Now we are near the bottom near the Scottish teams. Why? Where to begin?
After a few years of plodding mediocrity back in late 2010 we were taken over by Indian chicken super powers Venky's. They arrived with promises of Beckham and Ronaldinho. Who arrived? No one. That's not entirely fair, we picked up Rochina and Formica from Barcelona and Newell's Old Boys but they're for the future. This is 2011 and fans are worried about relegation, Jones left so did Kalinic. You might think that the cash from these two plus the '£10m transfer pot' would make a tidy sum. You might think that, but you would be wrong.
Rovers have made offers and approaches for some reasonably big names – Mirko Vucinic, Cedric Mongongu, Cisse - but it turns out the bank wants a chunk of the debt repaying now and with Utd only paying £8m up front the big targets we were hoping for aren’t so big no more. Goodwillie from Dundee Utd is our current target. A very good player but it's hardly a marquee signing. A Rovers Insider has commented that Venky's were unaware of the banks desire to recover money thinking they had agreed that the debt would be paid back over a period of time. Banks eh?
Blackburn isn't London, Milan or Barcelona. If you’re Vucinic and Roma comes calling lets be honest you are going there rather than somewhere near Burnley.
And it's not just the banks changing their minds. There are agents and extortionate transfer fees that Venky's are unwilling to pay. I heard a rumour that a 6 month loan deal for an average player could cost us £500k to arrange! For Jermaine Jones, a player who was on loan with us from Schalke for most of last season, who we wanted to buy, we were quoted a fee of £10m. That is ridiculous. Venky’s hadn’t realised what a murky world football finance really is.
Plus there’s the very real fact Blackburn isn't London, Milan or Barcelona. If you’re Vucinic and Roma comes calling lets be honest you are going there rather than somewhere near Burnley. To quote: "Mirko Vucinic, 27, has been linked with a move to Blackburn Rovers and to Roma’s Serie A rivals Juventus, despite having two years remaining on his contract. But agent Alessandro Lucci said: “Blackburn talk is just a rumour. They are a respectable club but I feel Mirko deserves a more prestigious club.”
So without the glamour and prestige of one of Europe's most romantic cities nearby, plus our recent record on the pitch and the fact that there is no money the long and short of it is that there is no prospect. Or is there?
Balaji Rao - one of our new owners - it is said has had his interest in Rovers revived and is willing to finance deals out of his own pocket. His frustrations with agent’s fees and banks has been put to one side so names like Raul, Podolski and Fabiano are back on the cards. Exciting if any of these were to happen but what if we get them and Venky's lose interest again. Rovers could be saddled with a massive wage bill. We are the smallest city in the Premier League. A gate of 22,000 represents one fifth of the town. We can’t afford names like Raul.
So in short I am a conflicted soul. Yes I want big names. Yes I want star players but I don’t want the club driven into the ground. Most Rovers fans are realistic and know the days of challenging for the league will never happen again. All we ask is that the club is put on a stable platform and we get a good cup run every now and again.
And remember we are only talking about arrivals here. We are still living through the whole Samba saga. If he leaves we are really up the creek. Jones we can live with, but losing Samba would be disastrous. Considering Jagielka, Cahill and Dann are £15m players what hope have we got of replacing him with a proven defender?
To put it into context here are a list of players we have been linked with over the last few weeks according to the press. Nonsense isn’t it?
Hugo Pavone (free agent), Alexander Gerndt (Helsingborg), Sebastien Bassong (Spurs), Steed Malbranque (Sunderland), Jermain Defoe (Spurs), mes McCarthy (Wigan), me N'Doye (FC Copenhagen), stjan Cesar (Chievo), yne Bridge (Manchester City), rnando Marques (Parma), is Fabiano (Sao Paulo), Jermain Defoe (Spurs), Jeon Lescott (Manchester City), Perez (Villareal), Jonny Evans (Manchester United), Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal), Tony Warner (free agent), Axel Witsel (Standard Liege), Craig Bellamy (Manchester City), Nedum Onuoha (Manchester City), Thomas Hitzlsperger (free agent), Cedric Mongongu (Monaco), Robbie Keane (Tottenham), Javi Marquez (Espanyol), Salomon Rondon (Malaga), Rodrigo Baez (Olimpia Asuncion), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen), Ireneusz Jelen (Auxerre), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Srdjan Lakic (Kaiserslautern), Scott Sinclair (Swansea), Roman Shishkin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Aleksandr Anyukov (Zenit St Petersburg), Joe Cole (Liverpool), Mirko Vucinic (Roma), Diego Novaretti (Toluca), Papiss Cisse (Freiburg), Wes Brown (Manchester United), Roger Johnson (Birmingham), James Collins (Aston Villa), Scott Dann (Birmingham), Vicente Rodriguez (free agent), Pablo Osvaldo (Espanyol), Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City), Amauri (Juventus), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Mame Biram Diouf (Manchester United), Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa), Matt Mills (Reading), Serge Aurier (Lens), Seb Larsson (signed for Sunderland), Nicolas N'Koulou (signed for Marseille), Pablo Piatti (signed for Valencia), Joao Miranda (Atletico Madrid)
Steven Nzonzi (Borussia Dortmund/Villarreal), Keith Andrews (Nottingham Forest), Morten Gamst Pedersen (Galatasaray), El-Hadji Diouf (Rangers/West Ham), Chris Samba (Arsenal/Tottenham/Everton), Junior Hoilett (Newcastle), Jason Roberts (Ipswich), Harold Goulon (Koln)
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