Steve Waggott felt Rovers were unlucky, rather than failed, in their bid to bring in a striker during the summer transfer window.

Rovers missed out on a loan deal for Bordeaux striker Josh Maja on deadline day, the striker having travelled to Brockhall to complete the move only for it to break down because of back issue highlighted in his medical.

That, along with Michael Obafemi moving to Swansea City, saw Rovers fail to add to their striking ranks despite the window being three weeks after the departure of star man Adam Armstrong.

He left for Southampton in a deal worth an initial £15m, despite Waggott revealing the offer of ‘a quite unbelievable’ contract having been offered to him.

Waggott says there is the prospect of revisiting in the Maja deal in January should it be possible, but says Tony Mowbray has ruled out the prospect of a free agent addition giving the current timescale.

“I think we were really unlucky, I wouldn’t use the word failure, I think we had a target in mind and had worked on that player for a few weeks,” Waggott said of Rovers’ striker pursuit.

“We got that player in, brought him over France, most of the fans knew as much as me in terms of who it was and why he wasn’t signed, he was the number one target for Tony to replace Adam.

“As things progressed we weren’t able to do the deal and he had to go back to Bordeaux.

“Tony knows there’s a budget available to go and get an out of contract player now, but that’s quite a difficult call, or when the window opens on January 1 we looked at what’s available and if it fits the bill.

“We’ve had a lot of players out of contract thrown at us, some quite star-studded names, but they haven’t played for 18 months so by the time they get up to speed, a couple of months to get them to full fitness, you’re nearly at the January window so Tony’s view is to hold our position and see how we go.

“We’ve got Gallagher and Brereton that we brought in and they can step up to the mark and let’s keep going with what we’ve got and looked at it in the January window?”

Maja is currently out injured with a stress fracture to his back, an injury Rovers had recent experience of with Dan Butterworth having been troubled with it in the last couple of seasons.

Twenty-two-year-old Maja finished last season with Fulham, scoring three goals in 15 Premier League appearances, having joined Bordeaux in January 2019 from Sunderland.

Waggott said he expected Rovers’ business to come later in the window, and said that wasn’t down to the embargo they had been placed under, denying that the restrictions placed on them by the EFL, lifted in the first week of July, were prohibitive to their business.

On how the window played out, he said: “With Covid, and then the Euros, it shunted everything back. The discussions we were having with Premier League clubs regarding player availability, they were put on hold, they were saying that they weren’t releasing anyone until the Euros are over and everyone is back in training.

“So that delayed things. The market was also pretty flat in terms of there not being a lot of cash about to transfer players in.

“Even with our prized asset, Adam Armstrong, who we eventually sold to Southampton, there was very little activity for quite a while. Everyone was just waiting to see how the market was going to go.

“It was one of the most unusual transfer windows I have been involved in, we all thought it would be a late fill in terms of bringing players in when Premier League clubs decided who they were bringing in and who would be available on loan and then also who was available around the level of what we had the funds to sign.

“Even then, clubs were reluctant to get rid of players too early.

“It was very much a delayed window and eventually ended with us getting in the loan players we were able to get in as well as acquire Tayo Edun as a permanent transfer.

“Very unusual situation for everyone, not just for Blackburn Rovers, that everyone found themselves in.”

Armstrong scored 29 goals last season and his form alerted the attention of Premier League clubs, but it wasn’t until Southampton lost Danny Ings to Aston Villa that any club made a substantial offer for his services.

That reached a level that Rovers were happy to accept, though the £15m fee was below what the club would have been able to hold out for had Armstrong had longer to run on his contract.

He had moved into the last 12 months, the situation also complicated further by a 40 per cent sell-on clause due to Newcastle on any profit on the £1.75m fee that Rovers paid for him in 2018.

“We offered him a quite unbelievable contract to keep him as our top player, top goalscorer,” Waggott said.

“We offered him a high contract, way above our normal level because of his value to the club, but Adam is ambitious, he wanted to go to the Premier League, with us if he could take us there, but that didn’t happen in the period that he was with us.

“I called it as him being in the departure lounge, he wanted to go, then it just a matter of the clubs coming in and we just had to commercialise it at the right level.”

Despite the offer, Armstrong didn’t engage with the club over a new deal, but left in a dignified fashion once the two clubs had agreed a fee, visiting the Brockhall training ground to say his goodbyes before posting a message of thanks to supporters on social media.

Waggott said reaching the conclusion of an Armstrong departure was the most important thing from the moment it became clear that he wouldn’t be signing a new deal.

He said: “I think it was a big no. He didn’t accept the contract, he wanted to go, he’s a great lad Adam, I’ve known him and his family for many years, and once they want to move it’s difficult to keep hold of a player because, not that he did it, but some players get demotivated and frustrated.

“Once the decision was made that he wasn’t going to sign a new contract, it was about seeing where we could get to in terms of generating some income.

“It was a shame to see him go but he’s gone to Southampton in the Premier League, where he wants to be, and the club has to move on now.”