Bristol Rovers transfer move for Chelsea talent and Hull loanee revealed

Bristol Rovers made a bid to sign the Chelsea prospect - but a move will not be taking place

Joey Barton has revealed that Bristol Rovers made an attempt to sign Chelsea and England Under-20 captain Harvey Vale earlier in the January transfer window.

The Gas manager is on the search for new signings and there is an emphasis on using the loan market, which he has used to full effect in his near two-year tenure. Ellery Balcombe and Jarell Quansah joined Rovers last week from Brentford and Liverpool, taking up their loan signings to four, in addition to Middlesbrough's Josh Coburn and Lewis Gibson from Everton.

Barton had thought they would have a fourth loanee from a Premier League club in the form of Harvey Vale from Chelsea with positive talks made but a registration rule put to bed their pursuit. Vale, a highly-rated attacking midfielder who can also play on the wing, had already played for two clubs this season.

"I’m looking for a centre-half, a left-back, two centre-mids and a left-footer who comes off the right. Will I get all of them? I’m not sure," Barton said on Thursday before the arrival of former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Grant Ward, who joined on Friday morning.

"The left-footer coming in off the right is going to be tricky. We were trying to get Harvey Vale in and we thought we had a good chance of getting him, but he played for Chelsea in the Papa Johns and he played for Hull, so he couldn’t play for a third club."

FIFA rules state that a player cannot be registered for more than three clubs during one season, and can only play for a maximum of two. After an unsuccessful spell at Hull City, the England Under-20 midfielder returned to West London after making just three appearances. Vale's 27 minutes in the Papa John's Trophy at the end of August, as well as his 127 minutes of game time at Hull, means he is unable to make the move to the Memorial Stadium.

Vale must now play the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign out at Stamford Bridge, where he is likely to play for the Under-21's side in the Premier League 2. He could have found himself reuniting with with Quansah, with who he won the UEFA Under-19’s ChampionshipFor Rovers, their search continues for new faces with more new arrivals expected to join ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline.

Funds have been freed up after Harvey Saunders completed his move to League Two outfit Tranmere Rovers. Saunders was out-of-contract at the end of the season, and his departure opens up a space in Rovers' 22-man squad list, which is due to be submitted following the conclusion of the window.

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