Tony Mowbray believes Rovers are better placed to deal with the disappointment of missing out on targets then previous summers.

Rovers agreed a fee with a European club for a defender this week, only to pull the plug after unreasonable demands from his agent as the player was set to fly in for his medical.

Daniel Ayala was set to join on a free transfer after agreeing terms, with the deal all but agreed, before late interest from an overseas club saw the 29-year-old have a re-think.

Cedric Kipre was another player Rovers came close to signing, with a fee agreed with Wigan for the 23-year-old who then signed for West Bromwich Albion.

Having invested heavily in their recruitment department, Mowbray says that now affords Rovers the option of moving on to other targets rather than paying over the odds, given the number of players identified, which allowed them to take their search to Europe after missing out on two domestic options.

Two new central defenders are on the wishlist, but with MLS interest in Derrick Williams having gone cold for now, and Scott Wharton having impressed the manager in pre-season, that could become one.

A back-up goalkeeper, a left back, and the possibility of adding in central midfielder could be the four new players that chief executive Steve Waggott hinted at, with a right back on the backburner for now.

Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph: “Eighteen months ago we probably didn’t have target two, three and four, we only had one player that we were going for and as the price got pushed we stretched it and we paid it.

“When you have options, the manager likes this one, this one and this one, you can afford to say to people ‘no, we’re not doing that deal’ and move on.”


Defensive signings have failed to materialise for Rovers before the start of the new season, but Tony Mowbray is realistic, rather than simply frustrated.

Rovers had initially identified domestic options in their quest to strengthen in defence, with Cedric Kipre and Daniel Ayala two players the club worked hard to bring in.

Kipre opted to join West Brom, after the Premier League side showed interest, while only a late move from an overseas club saw the Ayala move break down.

Rovers turned their attention to an overseas target, agreeing a fee for a defender who was due to fly in for a medical on Wednesday, but that move broke down owing to a third party.

Ayala was the deal that Mowbray suggested was close after the Carabao Cup win over Doncaster, and the closest Rovers have come so far to adding to their defensive ranks.

Asked about the period since the Doncaster win, Mowbray said: “Frustration, whatever adjective you want to put on it, I’m realistic I suppose.

“It’s football, you can talk to a player, get a feeling from them that they want to come, the vibe is right, they’re just what you need, and then you do a deal and then all of a sudden you can’t do it for another reason.

“That could be a third party, or something happens, and we’ve had a few of those over the last week or so which has made it a pretty frustrating time for us.

“This is where recruitment comes in because if target one disappears then you have to have target two, three and four spinning behind which is what we’ve had, and where we are now.

“We’ve been passed that stage, we’ve had a few medicals but still haven’t got them over the line.”

Mowbray echoed the stance of chief executive Steve Waggott that the club wouldn’t be held to ransom over wages, or fees, by any player, or agent, this summer.

He added: “A medical means nothing. If the player or the agent decides they’re going to sign and the medical is done, then fine, but sometimes we get a medical done because it’s going to get done and there’s no barriers in the way. We got to the point of a player potentially flying in for a medical, and then when we got to it, a third party’s demands were too much and we weren’t going to do that.

“We aren’t getting held to ransom by a third party who wants this much, it’s not happening, so the player doesn’t come and then we move on to the next target.”

Mowbray is now in to his fourth summer transfer window in charge, and is the second-longest serving manager in the Championship.

Having implemented the recruitment structure he has pushed hard for during his near four-year tenure, he says that provides an accountability for signings.

“If you’re going to have longevity at a football club then you have to get recruitment right,” he explained.

“I don’t like guessing too much, I don’t like an agent driving facility, where agents throw you players and tell you they’re going to be brilliant.

“We have to take accountability for recruitment and it’s important we try and get it right. The money we spend is the owners’ money, the club’s money, the fans want to see players who the club are investing in.

“We have invested in recruitment because I believe you have to get recruitment right more often than not. No club in the world gets every single one right, for various reasons, but if you get the majority right, you can build assets so if you need money to change something you can sell an asset and build by buying three players to strengthen all areas of the team.

“That’s where we’re trying to get to.”

While Lewis Holtby joined on a free transfer last September, Belgian goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski, the sole summer signing so far, represented the first permanent overseas signing of Mowbray’s time in charge.

That could well rise before the transfer window shuts, but European deals would need to be concluded by the earlier window of October 5, with the cut-off point for domestic deals being October 16.

Mowbray feels a domino effect could be key to unlocking Rovers’ transfer aims, believing some deals will give others a clear understanding of where he’s wanting to take the club.

“I was up pretty late talking to footballers that I would hope would want to join us.

“Footballers have choices, agents have choices, they want to know the project. The difficulty at the moment when it comes to trying to entice these players, without being too heavy handed, is they want to know the project, are we ambitious enough to get to the Premier League because that’s where they want to go.

“Are Blackburn Rovers desperate to get to the Premier League? The answer from me is ‘of course we are’, but they would be a part of the project, because another player we’re talking to is as well, and ‘if we sign you then it shows we’re being really positive’.

“But we have to get one or two over the line so that they believe that’s where we’re going and what we want to do and the journey will only be positive towards the Premier League.

“Some want to see evidence of it which can make those first deals difficult to get over the line to encourage the others come.”