Blackburn Rovers Could Lose Record-Breaker Amid Premier League Interest

Blackburn Rovers have been given no guarantees that Rory Finneran’s future will be at the club, according to a Lancashire Telegraph report.

The Irishman became the youngest ever to make their first-team debut for Rovers when he came on during the 5-2 FA Cup won over Cambridge United in January.

Finneran was just 15 years and 312 days old when he took to the field at Ewood Park and has been offered professional terms by the Lancashire outfit.

Despite having Finneran at the club since he was eight years old, Blackburn is not protected against him leaving the club unless he signs a professional deal.

It is believed that Newcastle United are among a group of Premier League clubs who are showing interest in the Republic of Ireland Under 17 international.

Rovers are still hopeful they can persuade the 16-year-old to stay at the club. Director of Football Gregg Broughton is remaining realistic about the situation.

He said, “Rory is already playing up a year for Ireland. He’s made his first-team debut and become the youngest-ever player for Blackburn Rovers. We remain hopeful that Rory will be here.”

Broughton discussed the success of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) but admitted there was a drawback. “The downside (to EPPP) is any player can leave any club at any time and most clubs have a highly-developed scouting network now. No players are under the radar in British football.”

However, he is fully aware that the club could simply be outbid for their academy graduate. “We are also not naive that someone could make a life-changing offer to him and his family that he’ll have to consider. That’s the reality of British football right now.”

The Ewood Parl side is pointing to the recent sale of academy product Adam Wharton to Premier League side Crystal Palace as an example for Finneran to follow.

New manager John Eustace is also open to young players, having given the most minutes to players under 21 across the whole of Europe during the 2022-23 season with Birmingham City.

Broughton continued, “We know at Blackburn Rovers that it’s not empty words. We have a clear pathway to the first team. We know what that would look like, not just in the next 12 months but over the next three years.”

“It was the same with Adam Wharton. This is how we see you getting to the Premier League, hopefully with us if we’re promoted, or via us. It’s the same message and pathway to Rory and all the young players in our academy.”

“There is a route here to the top end of the Championship with us and then the Premier League with us and via us.”

Writer’s View

Blackburn will be desperate for Finneran to sign the professional terms offered, even if only for the ability to negotiate a fee with potential suitors.

They have just lost Adam Wharton to Palace and rumours are circulating about top-scorer Sammie Szmodics leaving as the club looks for financial injection.

Losing Finneran for nothing having developed him since the age of eight will be a cruel blow. Newcastle United, however, will be hopeful they can get a deal done on the cheap as they would be buying potential.

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