By George Overhill

9th May, 2022 | 6:40pm

Bournemouth favourites ahead of West Brom to sign Blackburn Rovers' Joe Rothwell this summer

Bournemouth are the favourites to sign former-Blackburn midfielder Joe Rothwell this summer ahead of West Brom, says The Athletic’s Michael Walker.

Alan Nixon had previously reported (1 May) that Steve Bruce wanted Rothwell and Rovers teammate Darragh Lenihan this summer, and had suggested Bournemouth’s interest may depend on their potential promotion.

But with the Cherries finishing second and safely promoted back to the Premier League they are still apparently leading the four-team chase for the 27-year-old, who BBC Sport confirmed Monday (9 May) has left Ewood Park.

Walker wrote on his personal Twitter account earlier in the day: “Joe Rothwell… is wanted by Nottingham Forest, Sheff United & West Brom. Favourites to sign him remain Bournemouth.”

In an article for The Athletic, Simon Hughes reported that former Rovers boss Tony Mowbray felt a £4.5million deal in January was in the club’s best interest, and the player wanted to move for the “life-changing” money on offer, but the deal wasn’t sanctioned by chief executive Steve Waggott.

Race

Since the midfielder has completely free reign to decide where he goes it is likely to come down to who offers him the best contract.

It’s hard to see how the Baggies, or any of the other suitors, can compete with the Cherries if they had already lined up a “life-changing” offer and are now boosted by top-flight riches for next year.

Rothwell will rightly see this as his prime opportunity to cash in, as well as potentially his last chance to test himself in the Premier League.

Bruce is sure to have a more important role for him at the Hawthorns next year, with limited options there currently, but the move would be a sideways one for the player.

Since he was ready to go to the south coast from Blackburn it seems unlikely that he would choose West Brom over them this time.

So unless his perspective has changed in the last five months, or Scott Parker’s side do decide to look elsewhere, it will probably force the Baggies to move on.

In other West Brom news, two players have signed new contracts at the club and are set to do battle over a single spot.

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