Steve Waggott says Rovers are working to a self-imposed salary cap and won’t be held to ransom by potential signings, or their agents.

The club’s chief executive admits Rovers need at least two new players, and ideally want up to four new faces, before the October 16 deadline, with goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski their sole first-team addition so far.

Waggott says Tony Mowbray is ‘particular’ about the players he wants to bring in, while the club are working to a budget set by owners Venky’s, albeit that could be stretched should the right opportunity present itself.

Rovers have worked hard to get their wage bill down, aided by the departures of six senior players, and two loanees, but deals have proven difficult to come by.

Cedric Kipre opted for West Brom over Rovers, who agreed a fee in the region of £900,000 with Wigan, while the club are also set to miss out on free agent Daniel Ayala.

And Waggott told the Lancashire Telegraph: “If a player is coming in then there are the prescribed limits that we’re not going to budge on and if you want more than that then you have to find another club.”


Rovers chief executive Steve Waggott says experience, and defenders, and more than likely a combination of the two, are on the club’s transfer wishlist this summer.

Defensive additions have long been a priority for Rovers who have addressed their long-standing issue in goal by landing a first-choice goalkeeper in the form of Thomas Kaminski.

The Belgian stopper is in line to make his debut at Bournemouth, but he remains the only senior transfer conducted this summer, with Rovers still short of experienced options at the back.

Five players were released at the end of their contracts, as well as Tosin Adarabioyo and Christian Walton returning to their parent clubs, while despite being offered a new contract, Stewart Downing looks unlikely to extend his stay beyond one season.

And ahead of the season opener at Bournemouth on Saturday, Waggott admits that Rovers will start light on numbers.

“We definitely need a couple in, and in an ideal world if we could get three or four in that would be good,” he said.

“We lost six out of contract at the end of last season, three, if you count Greg Cunningham, on loan, so we’re nine down in effect, but we have others coming through.

“I think myself, Tony and Mark Venus all feel that we need some experience in the squad, and cover in key positions for us. Defensively, if you look at the stats, we conceded about 1.7 goals a game, so that’s a key area we have to look at and a couple of other areas we need cover in as well.”

Waggott, along with first-team manager Tony Mowbray, has travelled in each of the last two summers to India to meet with owners Venky’s to discuss budgets for the upcoming season.

The Covid-19 pandemic put pay to that this time around, but Waggott says communication lines have remained strong, with a budget in place for the summer window, though as ever, there remains a level of flexibility within that.

“At the moment it’s set, but there’s always flexibility if we say that we really like this player and the deal would be a good one for the club, then we would recommend it to the owners who would make the call,” he added.

“Usually they have backed us, it’s difficult times at  the moment in India, but I’m sure if we presented the right case they would back us, but we do have a budget that we’re being careful about what we spend it on.

“We have to be as exact as possible in our targets and the players we’re bringing in.”

Wages have at times proved restrictive when it comes to potential signings, with the club having worked hard to implement a salary structure for first-team players.

The departure of Charlie Mulgrew, one of the higher earners, would create room within the budget, as Rovers work on the specifics of a deal that would see him join Fleetwood Town.

Several recent signings have taken pay-cuts to join the club, and Waggott believes it isn’t worth sacrificing the strong bond within the group by breaking the current wage structure.

There has been a salary cap introduced in Leagues One and Two, although talk of one in the Championship is yet to materialise. A possible figure of £18m for second-tier clubs has been mooted, one Waggott says would benefit Rovers in bringing them in line with some of the bigger budgets in the league.

But he believes the right structure is now in place for Rovers to find the best possible players at the right price.

“We have invested in recruitment, nearly doubled our recruitment budgets, and got nearly all the platforms and knowledge you could possibly want at a club,” he said.

“We do the right due diligence, you can never say you’re going to get it 100 per cent right but we definitely don’t want to get it wrong, so we do a lot of due diligence and we have a threshold in terms of a self-imposed salary cap.

“We have got targets, some are pretty ambitious, and we’re looking at the European market in terms of looking to bring players in, and as well as first-team players, we’re looking at bringing in good, young players like Connor McBride who have just brought in from Celtic, so we’re looking short, medium and long term.

“But they have to be the right ones. I’m not saying that other managers aren't particular, but Tony Mowbray is very particular on who we bring in and how the DNA of the player fits in with the culture of the club, they have to be right.

“We have created a tight, cohesive unit, among the players and if we were to double someone else’s salary then we’d have a string of players saying ‘hang on a minute, we’ve been here two or three years, why is someone coming in and getting twice as much?’, because they all talk.

“Everyone knows what everyone else is on and who gets what money, so we have a standard win bonus across the board, any promotion bonus to the Premier League is standard across the board, and there’s no wriggle room.”