The plaudits were pouring in for Tugay 11 years ago today as the Turkish maestro prepared to put on a Rovers shirt for the last time.

The midfielder was set to say goodbye to his adoring public during his final appearances as he prepared to hang up his boots at the end of the 2008/09 season.

As Rovers got ready to host West Brom, all the talk was about Tugay, with Mark Hughes saying: “Because the quality he can produce is as good as I have seen in all my career, he is up there with the top 10 players I have been involved with – I can’t give him higher credit than that.”

Chairman John Williams hailed him as one of the club’s best ever buys, and added: “The service Tugay has given Blackburn Rovers is nothing short of incredible. Tugay will definitely have a place in our hearts forever.”

While Rovers were preparing to lose one midfield great in 2009, 12 months earlier they had been linked with two more.

Hughes, in 2008, had been alerted to the possible availability of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

 Sir Alex Ferguson conceded the midfield duo would eventually be “phased out” at Old Trafford, with Hughes having publicly stated he would be interested in the pair should they become


Also in 2008, Anthony Annan, dubbed the ‘new Michael Essien’ revealed Rovers’ interest in him.

The 21-year-old, then with IK Start in Norway, was holding out for a dream move to England, and had spent time on trial at Rovers, though work permit issues for the Ghanaian put that on hold.

When asked about the possibility of a move to the Premier League that summer, Annan responded: “That’s what I’m hoping. My agent is working hard for me, and he says a lot about me moving to the Premiership in the summer, so I’m looking forward to playing there.

“He said Blackburn, Bolton and Middlesbrough are interested.”

Midfield bids were also being made and received in 2003. Birmingham tabled a club record £5.5m bid for David Dunn on the same day Rovers saw a £1.5m bid for Steven Reid rejected by Millwall.

Blues boss Steve Bruce tested Rovers’ resolve with a concrete offer after learning that Dunn had rejected a new contract at Ewood Park. The former England Under-21 international was Bruce’s top target , as he admitted: “Yes, he is one we are looking at.

“He fits the bill in that he’s a talented and exciting player and he’s young, too, which is typical of what we want. I’m a great admirer of his and we have made an enquiry about him.”

Meanwhile, Millwall chief executive turned down Rovers’ advances for Reid, branding the offer as “unrealistic”.

Rovers however were not prepared to cough up more than £2m, for the Irish midfielder who was seen as a replacement for Keith Gillespie who had been offered a one-year deal by Manchester City.

Elsewhere, in 2013, Rovers missed out on the signing of Alex Baptiste to Bolton following further delays in the club’s attempts to confirm Gary Bowyer as boss.

Rovers had held discussions with the 27-year-old and saw a bid rejected the previous January.

Danny Gabbidon, in 2005, issued a ‘come and get me’ plea to his former international boss Hughes.

Hughes was thought to be ready to offer £1.5m for the 25-year-old – half the fee Cardiff were demanding for him in the January transfer window.

The following year, it was strikers that were on Hughes’ mind as he weighed up whether or not to pursue his interest in Florent Sinama-Pongolle.

The Liverpool striker impressed Hughes and his coaching staff during his spell on loan at Ewood and was on a list of prospective striking targets after the departure of Paul Dickov.

Other targets included  Chelsea’s Eidur Gudjohnsen, Birmingham’s Emile Heskey and Porto striker Benni McCarthy.

More recently in 2017, Tony Mowbray agreed to stay on as Rovers boss after productive talks with Venky’s.