Bristol Rovers consider turning Burnley, Everton and Middlesbrough loans into permanent transfer deals

Joey Barton wants Bristol Rovers to be savvy in the January transfer window
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Joey Barton has revealed that he has entertained the idea of turning Bristol Rovers' loan deals in to permanent signings. The Gas have three players borrowed from other clubs on their books, which could limit what they do in the January transfer window.

Bobby Thomas, Josh Coburn and Lewis Gibson are on loan from Burnley, Middlesbrough and Everton respectively, and are here until the end of the 2022/23 campaign. Thomas and Coburn were deadline day signings, meanwhile Gibson joined in mid-August. All three players have featured regularly for Rovers this season, and Barton has shown once more that he is happy to utilise the loan market to compliment his squad.

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The 40-year-old however wants six new arrivals this month, despite no new arrivals coming through the door in the first two weeks of the window. Alfie Kilgour and Trevor Clarke have both departed for Mansfield Town and Shamrock Rovers respectively, which could free up some funds whilst Sylvester Jasper returned to Fulham in October.

EFL rules only allow for five loan players in an 18-man match-day squad at one time and two further loan arrivals would take them up to the limit. Out of the three loan deals, two of them are defenders, but that is where the former Manchester City midfielder wants to recruit next.

"January if I could I’d bring in a whole host of players, I am looking for six and three are in the defence area," he said about how many players he intends to recruit, also revealing the area of concern for him.

"Whether we’re able to do that will depend on how savvy we can be in the market because we have two live loans before we reach the threshold."

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A way to get around the role would be to convert them into permanent deals, and Barton has already hinted that he has wanted to sign Lewis Gibson on a permanent dealbefore. Gibson signed an extension with Everton before leaving on loan, but with the 22-year-old out-of-contract in the summer, he could be the likeliest to sign a deal.

Bobby Thomas is under contract at Burnley until the summer of 2024, and is highly regarded by Clarets boss Vincent Kompany. Kompany deems him a 'talented player' but at 21-years-old wanted to see him go out on loan. Thomas has made only one appearance for the Lancashire club.

As for any potential permanent deal for Coburn, Boro would likely command a transfer fee that would far exceed the club record fee of £370,000 that Rovers paid for Andy Tillson back in 1992. Boro have a recall option on Coburn, but he will remain in the West Country for the remainder of the season, despite Michael Carrick replacing Chris Wilder who replaced him in the Riverside Stadium hot seat. Coburn 20, only signed a new contract with Middlesbrough last Jauary, and it does not expire until the summer of 2025, with an option of another year, making a deal increasingly unlikely.

Barton added: "Whether we go beyond that and take a sixth loan will probably be the dying embers of the window and what player it is. If it’s a superstar, we’d be foolish not to do it.

"Maybe get creative in the market, maybe we might have to convert some of the loans we have now to permanent. We’re exploring all avenues to give us maximum opportunity."

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