Soccer Football – Premier League – Nottingham Forest v West Ham United – The City Ground, Nottingham, Britain – August 14, 2022 Nottingham Forest’s Lewis O’Brien in action with West Ham United’s Pablo Fornals REUTERS/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, device lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online use during the game limited to 75 images, without video emulation. It is not used in single club/league/player betting, games or publications. Contact your account representative for more details.
While it’s been almost two weeks since the January transfer window ended, Blackburn Rovers are still waiting to find out how it really ended for them.
The EFL blocked a move at the deadline to sign midfielder Lewis O’Brien on loan from Nottingham Forest for the remainder of the season due to the late submission of certain documents required for the move to go through.
However, Rovers have appealed to have that decision overturned, and while they have so far been unsuccessful, it appears they have not given up yet.
Reports on Monday claimed that the Championship play-off hopefuls are now engaging a major Manchester-based legal firm, in a bid to cancel the EFL’s rejection of O’Brien’s registration.
However, the fact that Rovers are going all out suggests it could be some time before this situation is resolved, and that could be causing more of a problem for Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side on the pitch.
With O’Brien playing a huge role in Huddersfield’s unexpected run to the Championship play-off final last season, not having a player with his experience and skill in that kind of situation will certainly be a loss in the center of the park for the Rovers. .
However, it can also be argued that this ongoing could be hurting Blackburn, when it comes to their options at another position as well.
Back in the January transfer window, the withdrawal of center forward George Hirst from his loan spell at Ewood Park by his parent club Leicester, left Rovers in need of another addition to that area of the pitch.
In fact, several options such as Brighton’s Deniz Undav, Leeds’ Joe Gelhardt and Lorient’s Ibrahima Kone were all linked, only for the club to miss out on signing a center forward entirely.
That’s something that poses a problem for Blackburn, given the way most of their current attacking options lie.
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Top scorer Ben Brereton-Diaz hasn’t found the net in the Championship since early November, while the last of Sam Gallagher’s four league goals this season came in October.
Meanwhile, Jack Vale is yet to score in 17 second-tier appearances for the club to date, and the 21-year-old has found it difficult to make an impact at this level so far.
As a result, it appears that Rovers need to add more firepower to their ranks and there may usually be a suggestion that they should look towards the free agent market to do just that.
However, this is where the O’Brien deal can complicate things in that regard. While the fact that they were able to agree personal terms with the midfielder for a deal suggests there is still room in the salary budget for the remainder of this season, where it will be allocated remains to be seen.
Indeed, if Blackburn were to allocate part of that salary currently reserved for the potential O’Brien deal to the signing of a free-agent forward, just for their man-of-the-woods appeal to succeed, it could raise questions about whether the club has funding for both deals.
Given how their reputation has already taken a hit due to the way the saga played out, that’s a situation they’ll therefore want to avoid for a number of reasons.
Consequently, you feel that any move for a free-agent center forward to potentially boost that attacking threat will have to wait until a final decision on O’Brien emerges, which, as already mentioned, could be a long time coming.
In fact, it could also be argued that the funds spent on this appeal and legal representation may also affect what is available in the budget for any potential free agent recruits.
Meanwhile, it looks like the Ewood Park club will have to continue an attack that, for the most part, is hard to see scoring again any time soon.
With that in mind, if you’re a Blackburn fan, thank goodness for the revival of Bradley Dack.