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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.

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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. 

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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:

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