Football League World
·21 September 2023
Football League World
·21 September 2023
The Rovers academy graduate enjoyed an excellent breakthrough campaign with the club last season, and has now established himself as one of the first names on head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson's teamsheet in 2023/24.
Perhaps not surprisingly, that saw the exciting young prospect generate plenty of interest during this summer's transfer window.
After the market had closed, journalist Alan Nixon reported that Premier League trio Wolves, Crystal Palace and Brighton had been among those to look into a deal for the 19-year-old in the summer, only to be put off by Blackburn's apparent £20million asking price.
However, it seems that may not be set to deter potential suitors of the midfielder for long, with reports from TeamTalk this week now claiming that another Premier League side, Manchester United, have now also entered the race for Wharton.
Those sort of links will surely catch the attention of those connected with Blackburn, and it could be argued that this news means Wharton's situation is something that one of the Ewood Park club's Championship rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, may also want to keep an eye on.
Given the level of interest there is in Wharton, and the huge potential to be a major influence on the pitch, and a likely source of profit off it, you feel there would be no huge surprise to see a scramble for his services once the market reopens in January.
Should that happen, and lead to a permanent departure from Ewood Park for the 19-year-old, there could be a knock-on effect that is felt at Hillsborough.
The final minutes of the summer transfer window saw another Blackburn midfielder, John Buckley, depart the club, as he made the move to Sheffield Wednesday on a season-long loan.
As part of that deal however, Blackburn have confirmed that they hold the option to recall the midfielder in January, should they wish to do so.
So if they were to lose Wharton to a Premier League side such as United in January, you get the feeling that is something they could be tempted to do.
Bringing back Buckley would fill the void left by Wharton if he was to depart, by bringing in a player with the ability to provide a similar creative spark and wide passing range, who would have a point to prove after dropping down the pecking order.
Indeed, it appears as though a desire for more game time was a motivating factor behind Buckley's move to Sheffield Wednesday, and a move away for Wharton, would open the door for him to et that at Blackburn, given the void it would leave in the starting XI at Ewood Park.
It is also worth noting that Director of Football Gregg Broughton has revealed the player whose move to join Blackburn that fell through in the wake of Buckley's deadline day departure was in fact a winger from the Bundesliga, rather than another central midfielder, Rovers are happy to work with four options in that position moving forward.
Meanwhile, it should be remembered the Ewood Park side were seemingly reluctant to let Buckley leave permanently in the summer - head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson has even claimed he did not want the midfielder to depart at all.
Consequently, it would seem to make little sense for the club to go out and buy another direct replacement for Wharton, when they could simply recall a player they still want a few months early, in the form of Buckley himself, in order to ensure they have what they feel is the right number of options in that position.
Making such a move would of course, ensure that Rovers are not leaving themselves short in the centre of midfield, while also freeing up what would no doubt be a large fee from the sale of Wharton, to invest in strengthening others areas of their squad.
It seems therefore, that recalling Buckley could be an appealing response to any potential exit for Wharton come January, and it is unlikely that the fact that would be leaving a rival in Wednesday short in midfield and without a potentially useful creative asset in that position, will concern the decision makers too much at Ewood Park when it comes to making that call.
With that in mind, you get the feeling those at Sheffield Wednesday may want to be keeping a close eye on Wharton's situation with Blackburn amid that interest in the next few months, so they can be well prepared to respond to any impact it might have, on Buckley's own future at Hillsborough.