Exclusive: Bristol Rovers transfer target to stay with Plymouth after Wayne Rooney intervention

-Credit: (Image: James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)


Bristol Rovers transfer target Joe Edwards is expected to stay at Plymouth Argyle and fight for his place instead of joining the Gas this summer, Bristol Live understands, with the 33-year-old understood to have been subject to serious and sustained interest from the Gas.

There was confidence within Rovers that a deal could be struck for Edwards early in the window, after the club had come close to signing Edwards in January, as he had fallen out of favour with former boss Ian Foster, with Gas manager Matt Taylor and director of football George Friend particular admirers, viewing the veteran as an important and necessary dressing room presence.

It is believed that the Gloucester-born full-back, who started his professional career with Bristol City, was open to a move up the M5 due to personal reasons, but any negotiations regarding a deal have seemingly fallen through, with delays in negotiations and the arrival of Wayne Rooney at Home Park among the factors.

Edwards is a legend in that part of Devon, having made 223 appearances for Argyle and was a part of their promotion winning side two seasons ago, while he also scored the decisive goal against Hull City that kept the Pilgrims in the Championship on the final day of last term.

Rooney was confirmed as the club's new head coach last month after director of football Neil Dewsnip took caretaker charge for the final six matches of last season, steering Plymouth to safety by just one point, and is said to see Edwards, who still has a year left on his deal at Home Park, as part of his squad for next season.

Although there has been emphasis from the Gas hierarchy that recruiting young players with high potential is largely going to be their recruitment strategy for this summer and transfer windows to come, Taylor has previously gone on record to add that bringing in experience is also key in order to find the right balance within his squad.

This summer is expected to be a busy window for Rovers in the transfer market with the Gas manager beginning to sculpt his squad truly in his image. The roster that Taylor inherited upon his arrival back in December did have experienced players but injuries and suspensions frequently meant that he could rarely name his best possible team consistently.

Additionally, 13 players left the club at the end of last season, six of which loanees all under the age of 23 while another seven were released which included club captain Sam Finley.

Edwards played the majority of last season out on the right-flank, either as a full-back or wing-back, which is a position that Rovers could well need to strengthen this summer as they await a decision on Luca Hoole's future. The academy product was offered a new contract at the end of last season with his current deal set to expire at the end of this month but Bristol Live understands that the right-back is still weighing up his options.

Alternatively, the Gas have Jack Hunt who was generally first-choice on the right side of defence last term but the 33-year-old struggled for consistency regarding his availability with niggling injuries holding back the former Sheffield Wednesday man from playing regularly.

Rovers are yet to confirm any new signings this summer, having lost 13 players from last season's squad, however deals to bring in centre-back Taylor Moore and goalkeeper Cameron Dawson are thought to be close.