Failed £800k Bristol Rovers deadline day transfer ends saga by joining League One rival

Jonson Clarke-Harris is a Rotherham United player for the second time in his career. He was a free agent after leaving Peterborough United. (Getty Images)Jonson Clarke-Harris is a Rotherham United player for the second time in his career. He was a free agent after leaving Peterborough United. (Getty Images)
Jonson Clarke-Harris is a Rotherham United player for the second time in his career. He was a free agent after leaving Peterborough United. (Getty Images)
Bristol Rovers will not be reuniting with a popular forward that nearly returned to the Memorial Stadium in 2023.

Rotherham United have completed the signing of former Bristol Rovers striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, putting a complete end to the transfer saga.

The 29-year-old was made a fee agent earlier this week after Peterborough United confirmed their retained list. Posh lost to Oxford United in the play-offs and a departure from London Road was always on the cards for the striker.

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He has now returned to Rotherham, a club he played for from 2014 to 2018. “I feel like I have unfinished business,” Clarke-Harris told the Rotherham United club website.

“I had to go out and play games after I suffered a terrible injury when I was here before, but I’m pleased to be back and it was an easy decision for me.

"I spoke to the boss recently and he told me he wanted to bring me to the club. The boss knows what I think of him. I've spoken to him on numerous occasions since I left here when I was young. It's an absolute pleasure to work with him again and come back to the Millers. Hopefully I can finish off what I started.

"The boss was a big factor in me coming back. It was massive for me. The mutual respect is there. I've got a lot of time for him and we get along. I know what I'm getting from him as a manager. I'm looking forward to experiencing it again.”

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Clarke-Harris had been poised to rejoin the Gas for a club record fee in the 2023 summer transfer window but the move fell through on deadline day. Rovers were willing to pay £800,000 to secure his services, but the deal did not go through in time and so Rovers instead signed Chris Martin, who went on to become their top scorer.

Joey Barton was the manager of the time and viewed Clarke-Harris as the final piece of the jigsaw, but he shortly departed the Memorial Stadium. Matt Taylor took over and did not hold an interest in resurrecting a deal, instead prioritising players that are younger and could develop a profit for the club.

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