Blackburn Rovers manager Jon Dahl Tomasson after the home win against QPR.Photo: Richard Martin-Roberts/CameraSport/Getty Images
Blackburn Rovers are expected to share with their manager, Jon Dahl Tomasson, ahead of Saturday’s game against Stoke City, ending a turbulent week for the Championship club. John Eustace is the favorite to take over, and an announcement of Tomasson’s resignation or mutual termination is expected.
Tomasson has fallen out with the Rovers hierarchy following transfer mistakes and amid questions owner Venky is facing over his finances. Tomasson remains popular with the board and the fans but the Danes’ discontent and Blackburn’s recent dire form, which has dropped to 18th, seems to have convinced them all that a departure would be in the best interests of the club. Eustace controversially replaced Wayne Rooney at Birmingham City in October with the club in sixth place.
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Tomasson was prevented from speaking to the media last Friday after a controversial target day. Rovers sold their prize asset Adam Wharton to Crystal Palace for a club record £22m before doubling their deal for highly regarded United States international Duncan McGuire. The deal for the striker remains in the balance after an “administrative error” by Blackburn officials just before the deadline. Rovers thought they had clicked “submit paperwork” on the Premier League’s transfer system but hit “save”, according to Athletic.
“All the necessary signed paperwork was completed by 10pm on Thursday 1 February, but due to an administrative error the forms were not processed within the prescribed time,” Blackburn said on Friday. “The club’s lawyers have prepared the necessary papers and sent them to the EFL board.”
On Thursday the EFL board rejected a request from Blackburn to register McGuire on loan. “The board determined that uploading documents into a draft application field was not the same as sending documents to the EFL,” the league said. Blackburn said last week that “if the appeal is rejected, Blackburn will try to reach a pre-contract agreement with Orlando City in the coming weeks to enable the player to officially join the club on a permanent basis when the 2024 summer transfer window opens “. .
Blackburn suffered a similar transfer saga on deadline day last summer. After agreeing a deal for Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis O’Brien, the EFL decided not to confirm the move due to late submission of paperwork. Broughton said he was “devastated by the decision” and cited “internal and external reasons” but ultimately accepted responsibility for O’Brien’s failure.
The sale of Wharton, who was born in Blackburn and joined the club’s academy aged six, is a rare example of Rovers receiving a substantial fee for their assets. Ashley Phillips, the highly-rated England Under-19 defender who has been with the club since he was 12, left for £2m after Spurs activated a release clause that Rovers failed to omit from his contract the teenager.
Top scorer Ben Brereton also left Díaz last summer, joining Villarreal on a free transfer. Rovers rejected offers of around £10m for Brereton Díaz in January 2023, gambling on a long-awaited return to the Premier League as the club languished in the top six. Blackburn finished the season seventh, and missed out on the playoffs on goal difference. The previous summer, Joe Rothwell (to Bournemouth) and captain Darragh Lenihan (to Middlesbrough) left the club without a fee.
This season’s form has slumped after a bright start, prompting Rovers to invite groups of supporters to a meeting with senior players to discuss recent results. Blackburn have taken two points from their last eight games and are without a win in the league for almost two months. Injuries have cropped up and summer signings such as Niall Ennis and Semir Telalovic have failed to make an impact. The form of Sammie Szmodics, who has scored 21 goals in 30 appearances, has kept Rovers clear of the relegation zone.
After Saturday’s latest home win, against fellow strugglers QPR, Tomasson was allowed to speak to the media but said he was “not allowed to talk about” McGuire’s deal. “I think you should ask Steve [Waggott, CEO]Suail [Shaikh, the operations and management consultant] and ownership of the Duncan McGuire case.”
Venky’s, which Blackburn bought in 2010 for around £23m, is under scrutiny in India, where the government seized assets worth £7.3m in September in connection with the purchase of a mansion in Lancashire. The club announced the events last month “will not affect the day-to-day funding of the club”.