BLACKBURN Rovers have sold their captain Scott Dann to Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee.
The 26-year-old, who was one of Rovers’ biggest earners, has signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Premier League outfit.
As the Lancashire Telegraph went to press Dann was the only player to depart Ewood Park on the final day of the January transfer window.
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer, who signed Cardiff City winger Craig Conway earlier in the day, has backed summer signing Matt Kilgallon to fill the void left by Dann.
But he is expected to seek defensive cover once the window for loan signings reopens next Saturday.
Last night Bowyer was attempting to sign a striker.
But it is believed the chaos engulfing Leeds United – they sacked manager Brian McDermott and were subject to a new takeover bid – would prevent him from sealing a deal for Luke Varney.
Dann joined Rovers in August 2011 from Birmingham City and made 106 appearances for the club, scoring seven goals.
He said: “It’s been a long day and a long transfer window with a lot of speculation, so it's nice to finally put pen to paper and get it done.
“I’m looking forward to the next three-and-a-half years.
“Any professional footballer will tell you that they want to be in the Premier League.
“It’s something I’ve done before and really enjoyed and having the opportunity to come and play here for the next couple of years, do well and help the team – it’s something I really wanted to do and I’m glad that it’s all gone through,”
Dann’s exit means Bowyer will be down to just two recognised centre-backs – Kilgallon and vice-captain Grant Hanley – for tomorrow’s Lancashire derby at home to Blackpool (3pm).
Bowyer, speaking before Dann’s departure, said: “What we’re blessed with is some flexibility.
“We lost Grant Hanley in the game at Wigan and we had two volunteers – Tommy Spurr went in there and did a magnificent job until half-time and then Jason Lowe filled in there.
“So we’ve covered for this game but if the Scott Dann transfer goes through then the loan window opens next week and then that is something we will have to explore.”
Conway, 28, arrived from Cardiff for what is believed to be a nominal fee.
Rovers beat off strong competition from a host of clubs – including Brighton & Hove Albion – for the Scotland international’s signature.
Bowyer said: “We’re absolutely delighted. He’s somebody we earmarked before he went on loan to Brighton earlier this season.
“When he played against us he won a penalty and set their second goal up with a quality cross – so we became even more impressed with him.
“He fits the bill in terms of what we are after – which, first and foremost, is good people and then obviously good footballers.
“He’s been around, he’s an international and he knows quite a few of our lads so he’ll settle in very quickly.
“He brings something a little different to the squad especially now that Ben Marshall is out for a while.
“It was a great opportunity and the deal that we’ve done is a fantastic deal for the football club.”
Rovers were last night hoping international clearance for Conway and fellow new boy Bryan Dabo would come through in time for the duo to take their place in Bowyer’s squad for today’s Blackpool clash.