Rovers have again bolstered their attacking options in this summer transfer window, by securing tricky winger, Reda Khadra, who joins on a season-long loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.
The German winger of Lebanese descent, moves up north in search of first-team football, has been hotly tipped to reach great heights with Brighton and Seagulls manager Graham Potter was clearly impressed with how Rovers dealt with the youngsters of the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in the past. Such confidence from the manager, along with the similar styles of play that both Rovers and Brighton adopt, saw the manager give the ‘green light’ as he allowed the forward to move up north in order gain regular first-team experience by plying his trade in English football’s second tier.
The 20-year-old, whose only appearance for his parent club came as an 86th minute substitute in a 1-0 defeat away at Manchester City, came in for a lot of praise from then-under-23s coach, Simon Rusk, who – when signed by the Sussex club – noted that Reda, ‘held a lot of attributes that allow him to play, both in midfield or in an attacking role.’
An under-17s and under-19s Bundesliga champion, with ‘Die Schwarzgelben’s’ youth setup, Khadra successfully progressed through the German side’s youth academy before being deemed surplus to requirements at the end of the 2019-20, when he was formally released. Prior to his departure from ‘Die BVB’, Khadra proved key in the Championship winning under-19s side of 2018-19, despite only playing a full 90 minutes, four times, from the 21 games he participated in. Although he was only able to contribute one assist throughout 2018-19, Khadra’s 2019-20 campaign proved more promising, as he gained more match experience by playing a full 90 minutes, nine times, from the 18 games he participated in. Alongside those minutes, the German improved on his return from the previous campaign, as he netted once and assisted five times in the short campaign.
After his departure from the Signal Iduna Park, the former Manchester United trialist arrived back in England with a bang, after Brighton and Hove Albion snapped him up in October 2020. Two days after penning his contract with the Sussex side, he started and scored the opening goal as his side went on to beat West Ham’s under-23s, 3-2, in the first game of the Premier League 2 campaign, before being substituted off in the 61st minute. Khadra followed that display with the only goal as Brighton’s youngsters got the better of Liverpool’s youth team, but that came as a cost to Khadra, who was withdrawn in the 62nd minute with an injury that kept him out of the next game. Despite his injury, Khadra returned in the fourth game of the campaign to play the full 90 minutes against Manchester United’s under-23s as he set up Brighton’s second goal in a 5-2 defeat. Khadra then went on to only make one more appearance, as injury blighted the second-half of his campaign, but his last appearance of the season, which again was against West Ham’s youth side, saw him contribute with a goal and an assist in a 6-1 win, as he completed his first 90 minutes in just over two months.
Although Lebanon had expressed interest in securing Khadra’s allegiance, the winger, who has played three games for Germany’s under-18s side, has interestingly expressed a desire to represent ‘Die Mannschaft’, over ‘The Cedars’, in a choice which he could soon reverse.
The addition of Khadra comes at a critical moment in Rovers’ window, given the departure of 29-goal striker, Adam Armstrong. The former Borussia Dortmund man will certainly help chip in with both goals and assists in order to feed the likes of new signing Ian Poveda, Sam Gallagher, Tyrhys Dolan and Ben Brereton Díaz. Despite struggling with injuries during the second-half of last season, it will be interesting to see how Khadra adapts to the ‘cut and thrust’ physically straining nature of the Championship, as well as the demanding nature of first-team football, in-front of expecting fans – a feeling which cannot be replicated in youth football.