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Deadline day disaster: How bad was Blackburn Rovers' January window?

It's been a January of despair and dismay for Blackburn Rovers. In a transfer window that needed to be perfect, despite many players being linked, only one has come through the door.

In's and Outs

The only arrival of the window was winger Sorba Thomas, on a 6-month loan deal from Huddersfield Town.

Thomas has been a key player for the Terriers during his tenure at the club, racking up 16 assists in all competitions last season, where Huddersfield reached the play-off finals. He has also managed to get 6 assists to his name so far this season, which he will hope to continue with Blackburn Rovers in 2023.

The loan incoming of Thomas saw the departure of loan striker George Hirst, who has now joined Ipswich Town after being recalled by his parent club Leicester City.

Dilan Markanday also departed for Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen until the end of the season.

The transfer targets

Rovers main priority going into the January window was to sign a striker. Other areas of the squad were to be looked at too, but a striker was the main target.

Goalkeeper Nikita Haikin, formally of Bodø/Glimt was in advanced talks with Rovers. The deal was all agreed but failed to happen due to the proposed loan move for Aynsley Pears collapsing at the last minute. This was the first failed target for Rovers, but not for any fault of their own.

A centre-back was another target for Rovers, with Ryan Porteous' name being the one on peoples lips. Rovers and Watford were the two clubs battling it out for the Scottish international's signature.

A six-figure bid was made as the defender opted for a move to Watford, another target for Rovers that went elsewhere.

As stated, a forward was the main target for Blackburn, particularly a striker. A position Rovers couldn't afford to mess up.

Deniz Undav was a name that had been rumoured before January, and looked to be the main striker target going into January.

Rovers Director of Football, Gregg Broughton stated in his recent interview that they had an "agreement in place" for the German forward but the player opted out of the move.

With the Undav deal off, Rovers turned their attention to Ibrahima Kone from FC Lorient. A deal was also done for the striker but talks collapsed due to other transfer activity at Lorient.

This was two agreed deals were gone right before deadline day. A big final day was needed in the market if Rovers wanted to secure a striker.

Leeds United's Joe Gelhardt was also heavily linked however he opted for a move to Sunderland.

Rovers had failed to sign all of their targets before the final day of the window...

Deadline day

The 31st was a big day for Rovers fans and the club as a whole. It was a day that couldn't go wrong; many targets had been missed out on and a heavy shift was needed by everyone at the club to get deals over the line.

Lewis O'Brien's name had been linked a few times to the club, however fans were unsure if Rovers could pull this off with recently relegated Premier League clubs also lurking.

Despite the doubts that Rovers could bring O'brien in, it was reported in the afternoon of deadline day that Blackburn had agreed terms to sign the Nottingham Forest midfielder.

This was massive for Rovers as it was a position that needed strengthening and a Premier League quality player was coming through the door.

O'Brien had completed his medical and was at Brockhall, but no announcements were made. Confusion was ringing around the Rovers faithful as the signing looked sealed.

A statement was brought out on January 2nd by the club saying the EFL had rejected the moves of Lewis O'Brien and youngster Ethan Brierley due to papers not being submitted by the 11pm deadline.

This caused outrage amongst Rovers supporters, calls were being made to sack the board and a statement was released by the Rovers Trust as the club have failed to deliver in the most unprofessional fashion.

Rovers will appeal the decision as they believe the reason for paperwork being late was "out of their control".

In a season where Rovers have been relatively successful sitting around the play-off places, they needed to invest in the squad in January, and with no striker or midfielder coming in and nearly every transfer target being missed out on, there is no reason why Rovers fans should not be voicing their opinion.

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