The whole of Britain once wanted to sign Stokes, says Coyle

Celtic's Anthony Stokes celebrates scoring their third goal

Blackburn manager Owen Coyle has revealed he has always been an admirer of former Celtic and Arsenal strike Anthony Stokes

Celtic's Anthony Stokes celebrates scoring their third goalSought after: Anthony Stokes

Owen Coyle has told Sky Sports that Blackburn had to fend off a lot of interest from numerous parties for new signing Anthony Stokes, a player he had long admired.

Stokes joined the Blackburn from Celtic on a three year deal last Friday, after spending six years on the books in Glasgow.

The former Arsenal youth player spent the latter half of last season on loan at Hibernian, scoring twice in their historic Scottish Cup final triumph over Rangers.

Anthony Stokes celebrates after scoring the first goal for HibernianAnthony Stokes scored in the Scottish cup final

Stokes, who has won four league titles in Scotland and the Scottish Cup three times, has an excellent strike record, scoring 58 league goals for the Bhoys in 135 appearances, and as such, he was always going to attract interest after the expiration of his contract.

And one long term admirer was Blackburn Rovers manager Owen Coyle.

"I always liked his quality of play, I watched him for many, many years," said Coyle.

"He started at Arsenal, I think whole of Britain wanted to sign him, he had a huge pedigree, and obviously from Sunderland he played with Falkirk and Hibernian in Scotland, Glasgow Celtic bought him for over £1m and he was outstanding at Glasgow Celtic.

Owen Coyle - Bolton Wanderers ManagerOwen Coyle has said he has long admired Stokes

"So having watched him over the years and suddenly he becomes available, we did everything in our power to bring him to Blackburn Rovers, huge competition I've got to say for his signature, but we are delighted to get him here.

"He's a wonderful goalscorer, he has a little edge to him, and I think he has a point to prove as well, I think he wants to show everybody in England how good a player he is and that's good enough for me."

Owen Coyle - Wigan Athletic ManagerOwen Coyle has said he expects more signings

Coyle took over at Rovers at the beginning of the month, following the departure of Paul Lambert from Ewood Park.

The former Wigan and Burnley boss has spent the past two seasons in the MLS with Houston Dynamo, where he had a win ratio 34%.

The Blackburn boss is said to be keen for the club to push on in the transfer market, with Stokes expected to be the first of many additions for the Blue and Whites. 

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