Only one player from the entire division scored more than Armstrong’s 28 league goals last season, that man being Ivan Toney whose 31 was the greatest forward in league history. Only three players had already beaten 28 – Toney, Glenn Murray and Teemu Pukki.
What Rovers could have done, and what Tony Mowbray apparently intended, was to add a number of attacking players to help support those already at the club and between them they are close to making up for lost goals, taking into account the seven scored by Harvey Elliott who returned to Liverpool after his loan.
Sam Gallagher and Ben Brereton were always going to have to step up given both the investment in them and the break-in period offered by Armstrong’s streak since arriving.
The season has started well for the pair, with five goals between them in five games, already a third of the way to tie their 15 combined from last season.
The attack threat added in the window comes in the form of Leeds United’s Ian Poveda and Brighton winger Reda Khadra, but with Harry Chapman, brought in three of the five matches so far, having now moved on , the pair will only be added to Tyrhys Dolan and Dan Butterworth as a challenge to Gallagher and Brereton.
Those who had asked for Gallagher to be used more centrally could now make their wish come true, although it was not until the weekend that the manager warned that Brereton and Gallagher, having played for up to 17 minutes of the season so far. ‘now couldn’t continue at the intensity they experienced in the 46-game unassisted season.
And that was a word that kept popping up right through the window, Mowbray wanting competition and help for the group he has. With the efforts they’ve put in so far, it felt like the least they deserved.
In the end, Rovers didn’t even make the “five minimum loans” described by Mowbray, and as the dust settles they feel that at least one option is light, with one place that has gone begging.
The loans were bolstered by the permanent addition of Tayo Edun. His arrival fits the criteria of recent Rovers signings, a good age, 23, at a good price, £ 500,000, and with plenty of room to grow and develop.
The expectation, confirmed by Mowbray, was that any fees spent in the window would be on a forward player, but for the second window in a row this was reserved for a left-back, although Edun had the versatility to play more forward. .
A problematic position in the past has been resolved, the Rovers left-back’s fifth signing on deadline day since 2017, but since the signing of free agent Lewis Holtby in September 2019, the next four windows no ‘brought only three permanent signatures on the pitch to Daniel Ayala, Harry Pickering and Edun.
The Rovers came in last summer in need of goalies and three have arrived with permanent contracts. Twelve months on the question is at the other end of the field and none of those players have arrived.
It hasn’t been something the Rovers have had to worry too much about in recent years. From Rhodes and Gestede to Graham and Dack, then Armstrong, plus the money spent on Gallagher and Brereton, that meant the Rovers weren’t often looking for a striker while others clamored to add in that area.
Yet, they found themselves in a position where, despite the sale of their star man, business moved away and with it the window closed. Their hope was to have the fallback options of what they already had.
Armstrong’s departure was always going to be difficult to negotiate, as always expected, the acquisition of the fees that the club saw as the right number occurred against the backdrop of a deflated market, an expiring contract and an important sale clause.
Still, the deal was made on August 10, there were still three weeks left in the window. Mowbray said he watched Michael Obafemi, who moved from Southampton to Swansea City on deadline day, for three months before confirming club interest, and more such research will have been carried out on countless players.
Still, as the August 31 deadline approached, he felt the Rovers had nowhere to go.
Another important date on the summer calendar was July 7 when the transfer embargo was lifted, but on July 29, Mowbray revealed that he had not received any guarantees of receiving funds from the potential sale of Armstrong. , with the first signing on August 16 in the form of Leighton Clarkson, although it would have been six days earlier without Khadra’s injury.
Without Edun’s signature, it could have been seen as Rovers operating under a self-imposed embargo.
Dissenting voices grew louder after a window that raised more questions than answers, though others point to the perilous financial situation, a positive start to the season and the Academy’s options as offering some solace.
Still, a combination of loan signings and difficulty extending players’ contracts will catch up with the Rovers soon enough, and as it is, next summer could be that point.