MICHAEL Appleton has tipped Blackburn Rovers’ imminent loan signing Karim Rekik to be a future Premier League star – but believes he can have an immediate impact on Rovers’ own top flight ambitions.
The 18-year-old versatile left-sided defender is expected to sign at Rovers from Manchester City on a 93-day loan today, with boss Appleton hopeful of adding another signing with significant Championship experience in the next 24 hours.
Appleton also admitted former Rover and Spurs midfielder David Bentley remains on a list of targets, having all but-given up on West Brom’s Jerome Thomas, as he looks to bring in two wingers after the signing of Rekik.
Rekik, a Dutch youth international, is expected to be in Rovers’ squad for tomorrow’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Arsenal and Appleton expects him to be pushing hard for a regular starting place Appleton said: “He played for me in the Championship last season at Portsmouth. Although he is a boy in terms of age, he is physically a man. He is built like a brick out house.
“He is a big lad with a lot of quality. I am sure he is going to be in the Premier League for Manchester City for years.
“I have no doubt about that and I know Manchester City haven’t.
“At the present time hopefully he will be very good for Blackburn Rovers in the short term. Without a shadow of a doubt he will be chomping at the bit to ensure he is in the starting XI.
“The only thing from his point of view is we have a back four who are playing very, very well. We have to make sure we have players in place and he is one who will expect to play.
“He has to work his way in initially but he is a good addition.”
Since being appointed as Rovers boss in January, Appleton has allowed a number of players leave the club as he looks to put his stamp on things.
He is hopeful Rekik will be joined by another loan signing later today, with the likes of Bentley still on his wish-list over the next few weeks.
He said: “I certainly hope to have another one done by this evening.
“I doubt he will be involved on Saturday. But I am 90 per cent sure that will be done.
David (Bentley) is a wide player and we have been talking about wide players. He is definitely on the list and in an ideal world I would like to bring two wide players in.
“So whether he is one of the two lets see what happens. He has a great history with the club and a lot of quality.
“I think the only time I will get the feeling this is my squad is in the summer though. The squad I walked into, I recognised the balance was not right.
“I wanted to try and address that as soon as I could but you don’t get the opportunity to do that to a full extent until you have the summer.”
Defender Todd Kane, who joined Rovers prior to Appleton’s arrival, has returned to his parent club Chelsea.
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