Sam Gallagher felt it was time to take a risk and leave Southampton having taken a significant wage cut to join Rovers on a permanent deal.

Gallagher still had two years left to run on his deal at St Mary’s, with the Saints knocking back loan, and permanent enquiries, from Rovers for the 23-year-old last season.

But 24 in September, the attacker, who scored 12 goals during a productive loan spell at Ewood Park in 2016/17, felt the time was right to move on.

He has penned a four-year deal, signing for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £5m, with Tony Mowbray having remained an admirer of his talents.

“I still had two years left on my contract at Southampton. For some people it might have been easier to stay and see what happens,” Gallagher said.

“I felt it was the time to take a little bit of a risk and hopefully it will pay off.

“This hasn’t been a move for me in terms of money.

 “I’ve had to take a cut, and it’s about playing football, not the money for me, and that’s why I’ve come here.”

Rovers have maintained interest in Gallagher since his season-long loan ended after relegation to League One.

He spent the 2017/18 campaign at Birmingham City, scoring seven goals, with Rovers trying to secure his signature in each of the two transfer windows since winning promotion back to the Championship.

Gallagher has stayed friends with a number of Rovers players and was present at Darragh Lenihan’s wedding this summer.

“I think it has been close. But sometimes things don’t line up,” Gallagher said of previous interest.

“It’s not the right time or people wonder ‘what if’ or whether I’ll play more at Southampton.

“I’ve always been getting messages, some funny ones, about being linked with Sam Gallagher,

“The first day it got announced I was coming back the messages came through really did make me feel welcome.”

Gallagher managed just six appearances for Southampton last season after spending the full campaign with the Premier League club.

But after 47 appearances for Rovers in 2016/17, he’s looking to progress his career having dropped in to the Championship. And he says the feel of goodwill towards him since leaving, and after signing, makes him know he’s made the right move.

He added: “That’s what I’ve been after since I was left. It’s great to be back.

“That’s one of the great qualities of the club. It has that family feel.

“Every member of staff make you feel like you belong which helps.

“The boys that are still here have made me feel welcome from the off, there’s a great feeling around the place, great players and manager, as well as the fans.

“You never want to write anything off or burn bridges.

“There is a little bit of unfinished business I suppose.

“I think that has made the club hungrier feeling we needed to get back competing in the Championship.”