eustace

Opinion: Blackburn Rovers might not need midfielder Eustace has said he ‘wants’

Blackburn Rovers had midfielder Yasin Ayari on loan over the second half of the season, bringing him in from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Blackburn Rovers and Brighton have struck up quite the relationship in recent seasons with several of the Seagulls’ talents heading to Ewood Park in search of regular minutes.

Ayari was the latest to head to Lancashire, joining in January and following in the footsteps of Christian Walton, Jan Paul van Hecke, Reda Khadra and Andrew Moran before him.

blackburn rovers, Opinion: Blackburn Rovers might not need midfielder Eustace has said he ‘wants’
Image courtesy of: ANDREW COULDRIDGE/REUTERS.

He would play 13 times for Rovers over the second half of the campaign, managing one assist along the way. Ayari only started twice in the Championship though, perhaps not helped by the fact the manager who signed him – Jon Dahl Tomasson – departed in early February.

However, with the season done and Ayari back at Brighton, the midfielder has told Swedish media that John Eustace said he wanted him back at Ewood Park this summer.

Blackburn Rovers are sure to recruit this summer and midfield is a position they may well look at. But arguably, they might not need to re-sign Ayari.

The current options

Signings and departures are inevitable but the midfield is somewhere Blackburn Rovers are well-stocked.

They currently have Sondre Tronstad, John Buckley, Jake Garrett, John Fleck and returning club captain Lewis Travis on the books. Scotsman Fleck sees his deal expire and there is doubt over he’ll stay as talks continue, but academy graduate Travis is viewed as someone who could be a great asset for Eustace.

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blackburn rovers, Opinion: Blackburn Rovers might not need midfielder Eustace has said he ‘wants’
Image courtesy of: CRAIG BROUGH/REUTERS.

He had fallen down the pecking order under Tomasson but under Eustace, Travis can become a real asset for Rovers again.

Versatile favourite Joe Rankin-Costello is another option in midfield too. So, even if Fleck is to move on, Blackburn could have five solid players in the middle in Tronstad, Buckley, Garrett, Travis and Rankin-Costello.

Such players, all on the books permanently, could leave returning loan man Ayari down the pecking order, and that will not appeal to him having wanted to play more in the 2023/24 season.

Better looking elsewhere?

In a hypothetical world where more than one player is to move on, perhaps then Blackburn Rovers would turn to the transfer market to add another midfielder to their ranks.

If that was the case though, you could argue both the club and Ayari would be better off if they looked elsewhere.

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blackburn rovers, Opinion: Blackburn Rovers might not need midfielder Eustace has said he ‘wants’

Who is this?

There’s no guarantee that Ayari would get the minutes he wants from Eustace with starts coming few and far between under his lead. Rovers could be better looking elsewhere for a player who has a higher chance of starting regularly and having a real notable contribution, rather than the sparks shown by Ayari in his first stint.

It could be a pursuit with moving parts and perhaps a return to Blackburn Rovers would bring more opportunities for the talented Swede this time around. But, with the current options on the book, Ayari may be better off heading somewhere he’ll be guaranteed more action.

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