When The Athletic revealed Danny Ings had turned down a wallet-busting contract at Southampton – one that would have made him the best-paid player in the club’s history – it wasn’t just Saints fans looking at the new season with a heightened sense of dread – ditto Blackburn Rovers supporters.
A diminutive, quicksilver centre-forward blessed with brilliant movement, intelligent link-play and an eye for the spectacular, Adam Armstrong looks every inch a readymade replacement for Southampton’s want-away number nine.
And while the Premier League outfit saw an initial bid rejected this afternoon, according to the Lancashire Telegraph, it’s time those put-upon Blackburn fans accepted reality and prepared themselves for two months of sleepless nights and incessant speculation.
It says a lot about the way Rovers performed last season that, despite boasting a 29-goal striker in their ranks, Tony Mowbray’s side still managed to finish a lowly 15th in the Championship.
Armstrong actually scored more goals from open play than any other player in the division, with Ivan Toney’s laser-like accuracy from 12 yards the only thing separating the former Newcastle United youngster from claiming the Championship’s Golden Boot.
Southampton eye Blackburn ace Armstrong as Ings replacement
So if Blackburn couldn’t secure a top-half finish with Armstrong, how on earth will they cope without a man who has just enjoyed the most prolific season of any Rovers player since a baby-faced Alan Shearer in 1996?
Blackburn are holding out for £20 million.
But with Armstrong reluctant to extend a contract that expires next summer, rejecting Southampton’s opening bid seems like a classic case of delaying the inevitable.
Here’s what some Blackburn Rovers fans on Twitter had to say about the situation: