Rovers will push ahead with their recruitment plans, irrespective of the outcome of interest in Ben Brereton.

Brereton has been away on international duty with Chile, and will return to pre-season training next week, with the squad set to travel to Portugal as part of their preparations for the upcoming campaign.

Rovers took up the one-year option in Brereton’s contract to ensure the deal of the 22-goal attacker runs to 2023. However, speculation will build over the future of Brereton after his impressive 2021/22 campaign, and having impressed on the international scene.

Rovers had the same situation with Adam Armstrong last summer, though he wasn’t sold until after the opening day of the season, with only £450,000 spent on bringing in Tayo Edun.

Director of football Gregg Broughton is yet to speak with Brereton, due to his international duty with Chile, but talks are planned upon his return.

On the prospect of him being with the club next year, Broughton said: “Ben had an unbelievable year. Before I even knew of this opportunity I had enjoyed watching his performances and the style of play really, really suited him to get the very best out of him, especially leading up to Christmas.

“Ben has been away with Chile, he’s not back the week after next, so it’s unfair for me to talk about that because I need to sit down with Ben and his representatives.

“I don’t know what he wants, I have to sit down and have that conversation.”

Rovers sold Armstrong to Southampton for £15m, plus add-ons, with a large chunk of the profit on the deal due to previous club Newcastle United.

With the club having been under a registration embargo for part of last summer, the Armstrong deal appeared pivotal to the recruitment plans, with the first signing not made until after the start of the season.

Yet Broughton stressed that Rovers’ work on recruitment is already under way, and can be progressed irrespective of the outcome of the Brereton talks.

He added: “The owners have been very clear, they’re happy for us to push ahead with that plan, regardless of whether Ben is in the building or not.

“We don’t have to wait, we can act straight away on that.”

Rovers have put a big emphasis on their Academy, and Broughton says the club will look ‘inwardly before externally’ when considering their options.

The loan market will again be key to Rovers, but Broughton says money is available for signing players.

He added: “Yes there is money available on transfer fees, we have a healthy budget, within the same wage budget we had last year, and we are really looking forward to bringing in players to supplement the great group of players that we’ve got.”

Broughton arrived as Rovers’ director of football having left Norwegian club Bodo/Glimt.

New head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson arrives after most recently managing in Sweden, having enjoyed a distinguished playing career in Netherlands, Italy as well as with the Denmark national team.

It has led to many wondering whether the Scandinavian market is one Rovers will look to exploit, and while Broughton admits there is extensive knowledge of players in that region, work permit rules will make that difficult.

“I’d say a lot more difficult, it’s shrunk enormously, I’d say by around 80 per cent, compared to where it was two or three years ago,” he added.

“I bring knowledge of that market, Jon brings knowledge of that market, but I don’t think it will be our primary market.

“But it’s one we can exploit and create value from I’m sure.”

Fulham and Bournemouth were promoted automatically from the Championship in 2021/22 having benefited from parachute payments.

Broughton feels those payments to clubs relegated from the Premier League have made the Championship an ‘an enormously unequal playing field’, but says the performances in the first half of last season, and Huddersfield Town and Luton Town being in the play-off spots, shows that success can still be achieved irrespective of finance.

“The Championship is an enormously unequal playing field because of the parachute payments,” he said.

“Take those away and play fantasy football for a second and our budget is very competitive in the league.

“We have to recruit well, make sure it starts off by looking internally. I’ve worked at clubs before where you can have this sexy new player from outside and everyone is excited by that, but there could be a player inside the club who you know what he can do, know any character flaws he has and what character strengths he has and that player can often get overlooked.

“We always start recruitment by looking internally and look externally outside of that.”


Gain unlimited access to the Lancashire Telegraph website with a premium digital subscription with a one month FREE trial