Michael Obafemi in action for Southampton during pre-season. PA
potential transfer

Blackburn manager confirms interest in signing Michael Obafemi

The Southampton striker may be set for a drop to the Championship.

BLACKBURN ROVERS MANAGER Tony Mowbray has confirmed interest in signing Irish international striker Michael Obafemi from Southampton. 

The two clubs have agreed a fee for the permanent transfer of Adam Armstrong in the opposite direction, though Obafemi is not part of that move, as was initially mooted. 

Mowbray, however, says Obafemi may yet sign for the Championship club. 

“It’s something that’s been mooted, those sort of things become personal to the point the boy wants to make that move, his advisors have to see it as an opportunity”, Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph. 

“It’s something we’re exploring but I won’t sit here and say that anything is happening, we will see in the next couple of days if anything materialises.

“I have watched him for the last three months.

“I was aware of him making his debut, he made quite a bit of noise a couple of years ago.

“I have studied him a lot recently and I see similarities with Adam, he’s mobile, fast, can score, he’s a young boy but we use attributes to help the team play in a certain way.

“He has the attributes that will help our team but it’s not something we should be saying is a done deal as I’ve not personally spoken to the player so let’s see what the next few days bring.”

Obafemi made his Premier League debut as a 17-year-old in January 2018, and made a senior debut for Ireland later that year in what proved to be Martin O’Neill’s final game in charge, a 0-0 Nations League draw with Denmark. His career has since been interrupted by injury, and a proposed loan move to Swansea in January was scuppered by a significant hamstring injury, which required surgery. 

He has yet to be involved at senior level under Stephen Kenny, not-too-cryptically tweeting his displeasure at being left out of Kenny’s first squad a year ago. 

Southampton, meanwhile, have moved to fill the void created by Danny Ings’ move to Aston Villa by agreeing a fee for Armstrong. 

The 24-year-old sat out Blackburn’s season-opening 2-1 Championship win over Swansea on Saturday as his future continues to be thrashed out.

After a fine goalscoring return last season, the former England U21 international has reportedly attracted plenty of Premier League attention.

The PA news agency understands Southampton have now struck a deal with Rovers, with Armstrong set for his medical on the south coast on Tuesday.

Armstrong came through the ranks at Newcastle before leaving for Ewood Park on a permanent deal in 2018.

It is understood Newcastle are in line for a slice of the fee as part of his sale to Blackburn three years ago.

The move, reportedly worth up to £15million, comes after Saints sold Ings – who scored 12 Premier League goals last season – to Aston Villa last week.

Armstrong made 15 top-flight appearances for Newcastle earlier in his career but went on to spend time out on loan at Coventry, Barnsley and Bolton.

He was then on loan at Blackburn for the 2017/18 campaign, completing a permanent transfer the following summer.

Blackburn finished 15th last season but Armstrong ended the Championship campaign with 28 goals, only bettered by Brentford’s Ivan Toney.

Additional reporting by PA

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