‘Little bit unusual’ – Millwall boss makes interesting comments on potential transfer spending

GARY Rowett knows Millwall can’t go “gung-ho” in the next transfer window – but admits he will be trying to convince the board “for a little bit more than we’d normally spend”.

The Lions’ official record transfer outlay remains the £1.2million paid to Sheffield United for Ryan Leonard in the 2018-19 season.

Millwall made eight senior signings last summer – five of them loans – and only paid one fee, an undisclosed sum for George Saville.

There was only one permanent signing in Rowett’s first summer ahead of the delayed start of the 2020-21 season, Mason Bennett for a small fee from Derby County.

Across those two seasons, Millwall have only paid two other fees, both well under £1million for Maikel Kieftenbeld and George Evans in January 2021.

It means that Rowett has out-performed his budget by leading the side to eighth-, 11th- and ninth-place finishes.

In contrast to Millwall’s expenditure in recent seasons, Blackburn Rovers, who finished a place above the Lions last season, spent £5million on Sam Gallagher in the summer of 2019.

Rowett was asked about this summer’s budget and if he could envision a similar outlay on a player.

“That would be nice!” Rowett said. “The reality is if there was £5million available you’d want to spend it on two or three players to spread that impact across the squad.

“I understand that we’re not the sort of club to go gung-ho but at the same time I also think we’ve had three years of progress. So as a manager I obviously have to try to put forward a plan to the board and to John [Berylson] that says, ‘I think we should be even better in the next three years’.

Millwall paid £1.2million for Ryan Leonard

“The reality is that’s my job to try to put that across. That will involve the odd player with the odd transfer fee that might be a little bit unusual from what we would normally do, and then the appetite of the board to want to try to do that. Of course, we’ll all sit down and have a conversation about it.

“That’s my job. My job is not to sort of not spend money and not find good players and not move the team forward. My job is the opposite and I have to try and do that within a sensible framework for our club.

“I’ll continue to do that but it doesn’t mean I won’t try to push for a little bit more than we’d normally spend.”

Image: Millwall FC 

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John Kelly