As has already been mentioned, the post season/preseason time was going to be busy. Several players were released, and James Coppinger along with Andy Butler both retired and joined the backroom staff, Coppinger to manage the Under 23s, Butler the U18s.
I was able to convince the board to up the scouting area we could use, so, putting the recommendations of the analysts into action, I was able to scout several names that were recommended in Spain and elsewhere.
The first few names picked out were Portuguese midfielder Duarte Valente, who was highly recommended as the sort of player who would sit in front of the back 4 and break up play. At 19 years old, he would be one for the future, however, he had already made appearances in the Liga NOS, and as such, would come at a slight premium of £400k
Next would be a familiar face, Marcelo Djaló had spent the previous season at the Keepmoat, anchoring the defence alongside Harry Lennon. He remained on the transfer list at Fulham, and, for £160k, would provide us with a medium term defensive option.
The next player doesn’t appear on any of the incoming transfer lists, being a product of the Rovers academy. Glyn Gardner came through in the most recent youth intake, and the 16 year old has a lot of what we’re looking for in players, he would improve in coming years, but would get experience as the 3rd or 4th centre back this season.
Next on the incomings is Eoghan O’Carroll, the former Celtic youngster joining from Bury, where he had been an integral part of their last 2 seasons in League One. I’d observed him during our matches against them as someone who, whilst not being the quickest of players, was comfortable bringing the ball out of defence, and would also be difficult to knock off the ball given his strength. He will probably outgrow the club depending on his performances this season.
Thomas Glover is a goalkeeper that I’d scouted a couple of times during the season whilst watching a few games in Scotland (albeit, he wasn’t the original player being watched), and he had played a big part in Dundee United getting promoted via the Championship Playoffs in 2018/19. He was still under contract for another season, so we had to pay to get him out of Tottenham, but, I see him as an upgrade on Lukas Raeder, and at 21, he fits into the type of player we can develop and move on.
The next player is the one I was actually watching when I spotted Glover. That being young Scottish winger Paul McMullen. He had spent the last couple of seasons at Dundee United, making over 60 appearances for them, and being part of the side that gained promotion to the SPL Able to play on either wing, and preferring to run at the defence and cutting in, he will fit the role I want my wingers to play. Again, we had to spend some money on getting him away from Dundee, but, at 23 years old, with over 130 appearances, he will develop well for us.
A few signings in the midfield were next up, whilst we already had Luis, Thomas, Rothwell and King, I felt we needed to upgrade our options.
First on the list is Ben Thompson. Signed from Millwall, where his opportunities had been limited over the past couple of years, a very fit player, he would be able to keep going back and forward in our system.
Next is Erik Andersson, spotted playing for the Swedish U21 side, the 22 year old had been at Trelleborg in the Superettan (Swedish 2nd Division) having suffered relegation with them in 2018 from the Allsvenskan. Another very mobile player, he would be more than capable of fitting into the side.
Regan Slater comes in from Sheffield United, making the move up the M18 for a club record transfer fee. At 19, he will be with us for a few seasons, and will definitely outgrow the club, therefore providing us with an opportunity to cash in on him. A more attacking minded midfielder compared to our previous midfield signings, he will provide some forward impetus.
Borja Sánchez is a bit of a shot in the dark if truth be told. He wasn’t recommended by our analysts, but spotted by a scout when we were watching other targets. Signed from Castilla, and being a product of the Real Madrid youth setup, he has some of the traits that I want from a player, however, he is somewhat lacking technically, so will need work before becoming a regular in the squad.
Another free transfer coming in was Ryan Hedges, at 24, hes slightly older than a lot of the new signings (except for Djaló), but, is well rounded, and like McMullan, can play down both wings. He prefers playing on the right and cutting in, but, is mobile and slightly larger than the other wingers.
Last on the list of signings to introduce, is Rafa Mújica A Spanish striker, who is a product of UD Las Palmas, spending his formative years at La Masia, having left the Canary Islands as a 15 year old. Technically hes a typical Spanish forward, with a good first touch and quick off the mark, he needs some work in order to make it to the top level. A free transfer, he scored 11 goals for Barcelona B in the Segunda B3, but, will fight it out with John Marquis to start the season up front.