After the transfer window slammed shut last night, we look at our transfer dealings and whether this window can be seen as a success or failure.
When Rovers fell to relegation at Brentford, many fans expected to lose our best players, and not many additions to be made. Step forward, Tony Mowbray.
Rovers have managed to keep hold of their best players, whilst adding 13 players, with 10 outgoings.
This amount of incomings was necessary after the amount of outgoings at the end of last season, but, have Rovers added quality to our squad?
Starting with the goalkeeper position, I personally do not think this could have gone much better. Whilst I was one of the few who felt Steele was a decent keeper, I did feel the time was right for Raya to take his spot as number one.
For Rovers to command a fee of £500,000 for the former Middlesbrough man is impressive and can only be seen as good business for Rovers, especially considering that during pre-season he was very much used as a number 2.
Rovers added Jayson Leutwiler from Shrewsbury for an undisclosed fee, to help create competition in the goalkeeping department. A competent keeper himself, Raya knows that any slip up may result in him losing his place to the Canadian international.
IN – Jayson Leutwiler
OUT – Jason Steele
Goalkeeper rating – 10/10
Rovers conceded far too many goals last season, and looked less than resolute when called into action. The best bit of business Rovers could have done defensively was to keep hold of Charlie Mulgrew and Darragh Lenihan, and they have done just that. Despite interest from Championship clubs, Rovers stood firm and managed to keep hold of the defensive duo.
The addition of the experienced Paul Caddis gives Rovers another dimension, and will hopefully help aid the development of the highly rated Ryan Nyambe. Rovers have also added former Liverpool left back Sam Hart to their ranks and will provide competition for Derrick Williams. Backup was also needed in the centre of defence and Rovers have done just that, signing Paul Downing on loan from fellow league club MK Dons.
Whilst I wouldn’t expect any of the defensive additions to start and play in every game, it was business that needed doing. At the back end of last season, Rovers were hampered by injuries in defence and some may argue that it ended up costing us. Over the course of a season injuries happen, and having numerous players for a position isn’t a bad thing.
IN – Paul Caddis, Sam Hart, Paul Downing (loan).
OUT – Adam Henley, Wes Brown, Gordon Greer
Defence rating – 8/10
The midfield needed serious work. After the departures of several senior midfield players when Rovers announced their retained list, which included captain Jason Lowe, the Blues needed to rebuild their midfield.
The early addition of Peter Whittingham was the first to come through the door and was followed by a further 5.
Richie Smallwood came on a free from Rotherham and was followed by the 2015/2016 League one Player of the Season, Bradley Dack, who signed for £750,000 from Gillingham. Ben Gladwin signed for an undisclosed fee from QPR only a day later.
Mowbray then added tricky winger Harry Chapman on loan before the opening day, from Championship club Middlesbrough. Rovers added to their ranks further, with the deadline day signing of highly rated West Brom midfielder Rakeem Harper.
I would wager that Rovers have a stronger midfield this season than they did last, and whilst as of yet the likes of Whittingham and Gladwin have failed to impress, I am confident that they will come good.
Dack, despite his injuries, has shown his ability to trouble defences and Harry Chapman has been fantastic so far. Mowbray will be hoping young Rakeem Harper will have a similar impact.
As well as additions, Rovers lost Connor Mahoney on a free transfer to Premier League side Bournemouth. We are still waiting to see how much compensation Rovers will get, as the fee will be decided at a tribunal, due to both clubs involved not being able to agree a fee. The club should’ve sorted the contract situation out earlier, but they seem to have learnt from their mistakes, after getting Ryan Nyambe under contract.
Rovers have also lost Liam Feeney on loan to Cardiff City. I don’t regularly single out players for criticism, maybe I am just too kind, but Feeney was a very frustrating player. Whilst he showed glimpses of what he could do, I remember him playing well only once, he was never consistent and I am glad to see the back of the former Bolton man.
IN – Richie Smallwood, Peter Whittingham, Bradley Dack, Ben Gladwin, Harry Chapman (loan), Rekeem Harper (loan).
OUT – Danny Guthrie, Hope Akpan, Danny Guthrie, Connor Mahoney, Liam Feeney (loan)
Midfield rating – 8/10
With Sam Gallagher returning to Southampton after his loan spell, Rovers needed to add to their attacking ranks, with Danny Graham the only senior striker on Rovers books.
The addition of Dominic Samuel has been a joy to behold, and currently sits joint top of Rovers’ top scorer rankings. Marcus Antonsson was also brought in, and will provide completion at the top end of the field.
Rovers have also kept hold of last season’s top scorer Danny Graham, despite reported interest from Championship clubs. When it was mentioned at the beginning of the week that he may be leaving, I will admit I wasn’t as bothered as I thought I would be. Whilst I do feel Graham will score goals in this division, he has struggled for form in the early part of the season and that did worry me, it still does.
Now the window has shut, I am happy that Graham will remain part of the Rovers set up, and feel he could be the perfect foil for Dominic Samuel. I do, however, expect his form to turn around and begin to score goals we know he can at this level.
Rovers did lose Anthony Stokes this window, after Rovers terminated his contact – and he eventually returned to Hibernian. Stokes was seen as a bad egg in the dressing room, and this is likely to be the reason Mowbray wanted to lose him.
IN – Dominic Samuel, Marcus Antonsson (loan)
OUT – Anthony Stokes
Striker rating – 8/10
I feel a special mention must also go to Joe Nuttall.
The 20 year old was brought in for the Rovers’ U23 squad, but has made a real claim for a spot in the first team. He scored in the Checkatrade Trophy win over Stoke U21’s and has been in fine form in the PL2 Youth League for the U23’s. Whilst I don’t expect him to start in the league anytime soon, his unpredictably may be of use to Rovers as the season progresses.
Overall, this window can only be regarded a success in my eyes. Whilst some players have been disappointing, mainly Peter Whittingham – who we all expected so much of – there is still time for him to prove to be a valuable asset to the Rovers squad. Tony Mowbray was given a tough job of rebuilding a squad that had faced relegation to the third tier of English football, only time will tell how good of a job he’s done but I feel he is going to pass with flying colours. It can be argued that this Rovers squad is stronger than that of last season and I would go along with that.
Mowbray can have no excuses now, he has built a good squad of players he has chosen and it’s down to them to prove that they deserve to wear the famous blue and white shirt.
Come on you Blues!
What do you think of the transfer window? Comment below or tweet us at @rovers_chat.