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Report: ‘Terrific’ Arsenal talent wanted in vast rebuild, Emirates exit nearing

Blackburn Rovers are keen to sign Arsenal talent Dan Ballard on loan for the 2021/22 season, according to Lancs Live.

The Championship outfit are set to undergo a vast rebuild over the summer with several players leaving Ewood Park. Tony Mowbray needs to strengthen four key positions in the transfer window, with midfield depth a priority.

Rovers have seen their engine room empty with contract and loan deals expiring. They must now recruit a deep-lying playmaker, box-to-box dynamo plus creative maestro, and would also like a centre-forward and winger.

Photo by Dave Howarth – CameraSport via Getty Images

But Blackburn may also need to add another name at right-back. And with Scott Wharton not returning from an Achilles tear until December, central defenders will be considered, as well.

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Blackburn like Ballard for the role after he played an instrumental role in helping Blackpool secure promotion to the Championship. The 21-year-old moved to Bloomfield Road in October and made 25 League One appearances in Neil Critchley’s backline.

His efforts helped the Seasiders qualify for the play-offs as the top-ranked side and beat Lincoln City at Wembley. Blackpool kept 14 clean sheets over Ballard’s combined 28 third-tier outings, starting 27, and offered two goals plus an assist.

Ballard is now set to leave Arsenal on loan for the 2021/22 season to join a Championship side. Football.London report Blackpool are keen to extend the centre-half’s stay, but he is in talks with several second-tier sides.

The Northern Ireland international is close to securing a temporary deal to leave the Emirates Stadium once more. He is yet to make his first-team debut in north London, but has played 24 times for the Gunners’ U23s.

TBR’s view: Arsenal in a great position with Ballard

Arsenal are in a great position with Ballard, with several Championship clubs keen to sign the eight-cap defender on loan. Mikel Arteta and Technical Director Edu must find the ideal home for him, however, in order for the 21-year-old to continue developing as he has.

Ballard returning to Blackpool would see the Arsenal product continue to grow in a system he is already familiar with. But holding out for an approach from Blackburn would offer him the chance to feature in an established second-tier unit.

Staying at Blackpool would also see Ballard progress under a coach in Critchley who knows and admires what he offers. The Seasiders boss praised the youngster in January after extending his short-term deal, noting via the club’s website:

“Daniel plays like a leader, with real character and personality on the pitch. He’s been terrific to work with and will continue to improve and get better. We thank Arsenal for entrusting us with Daniel’s development.”

AND in other news, European title-winners set eyes on Arsenal for transfer of ‘ruthless’ talent

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