Rotherham United: Why Millers boss Steve Evans said ‘no’ to Premier League loan signing

Boro dangerman Kike
Boro dangerman Kike

Cash-conscious Rotherham United boss Steve Evans has turned down the chance to sign a Premier League loan player to preserve the unity in his dressing room.

Millers chairman Tony Stewart had sanctioned the deal ahead of tomorrow’s Championship clash with Middlesbrough, Evans revealed.

But the manager, who celebrated his 52nd birthday yesterday, pulled the plug because he thought the wage demands were too high.

“There was one in the last few days that I just thought wasn’t offering value for money,” Evans said.

“Although the chairman might have been keen to see it go over the line, I was the one who said ‘I’m also keen to keep the dressing room right’.

“It’s not a question of whether the player is worth it, because he probably gets paid a lot more at his parent club.

“We have structure under which we want to pay our players in the dressing room. We don’t want to be paying out a lot more than we have as an average in that dressing room. That’s massively important to us because we’ve got some good players in there. “

Evans said the player was with a top-flight club and had Premier League and Championship experience.

He added: “All bar me saying ‘yes’, the deal was done.

“Our chairman and chief exec had the green light, but Steve Evans was the one who said ‘the numbers just don’t fit comfortably with me’. When I said that to Tony Stewart, he said that I make the decisions on the team. The chairman respects why I made that call.”

High-flying Boro are at New York Stadium tomorrow for an all-ticket match that is expected to sell out.

The Millers are unbeaten in five matches, but Evans said: “There are one or two things we may change in lieu of Middlesbrough.

“I watched them at the Amex Stadium against Brighon two weeks ago. I was really impressed with them.

“They’ve got some real quality. Kike (striker) is an exceptional talent. Grant Leadbitter (midfielder) has been stunning. They’re strong all round; they’ve got a real energy about them. I think they’ll finish for sure in the play-offs.”

Evans is still keen to recruit during the loan window and says he would be willing to splash out on the right man.

“We’re trying really, really hard to being in one or two players. But it has got to be on wages we are happy to pay,” he said.

“As long as we give value for money, our chairman will go to the market and support us.

“There may be times between now and the transfer window closing in terms of loan deals where I actually do believe somebody is worth that kind of money and I wouldn’t be frightened to ask. I don’t for one minute think he would say ‘no’.”

Left-back Joe Skarz misses out for the Millers tomorrow after collecting five yellow cards.

Evans is braced for a challenging spell of three matches in a week before the next international break.

“Arguably we now step up for a real test,” he said. “We host Middlesbrough - who I think are a benchmark for any club in the Championship - followed by, in the space of four days, a trip to Reading and back up and across the motorway to play Sheffield Wednesday.

“It shows the progress we have made because two years ago we’d have been talking about clubs nowhere near the stature of the ones we’re about to face.”