'Reasonable for the league' - Hussain AlSaeed outlines Bristol Rovers' summer budget plans

Hussain AlSaeed's investment in Bristol Rovers was announced last August -Credit:Tom Sandberg/PPAUK
Hussain AlSaeed's investment in Bristol Rovers was announced last August -Credit:Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Hussain AlSaeed has revealed that the budget provided for Bristol Rovers' summer recruitment will be "reasonable for the league" with the target of competing in League One's top 10 set out for next season.

The Gas are set to finish between 13th and 15th this campaign after their 2-0 defeat at home to Peterborough United on Saturday afternoon put an end to the possibility of a top half finish. However, regardless of the result in their final game at Wigan Athletic next weekend, Rovers have already surpassed their points tally of 53 from last term with 57 currently on the board.

Ultimately, that reflects some distance from the top-eight position that the Rovers Chairman said the playing budget invested over the summer represented earlier this term but, after a campaign of transition, Matt Taylor now has the backing and the recruitment structure to construct a squad in his image.

12 permanently contracted players have deals that are set to expire this summer while there are also six first-team loanees which foreshadows an inevitable major turnover in players ahead of next season but, speaking to local media, including Bristol Live, AlSaeed ensured that there is a plan in place for the recruitment process to be done as successfully as possible.

"It’s not always money," the Kuwaiti said when asked if Taylor will be backed financially over the summer. "Sometimes it’s really how you recruit it. I mean, this is why we had this set up so the selection is not all about money. The selection is about the kind of players that we’re looking for, the criteria that we’re looking for. Yes, money helps but it’s not the only factor. Others come in.

"So this is actually something that we wanted to make sure that the Head of Football and the manager knows that this is the budget that we’re looking for. Not necessarily a huge budget but reasonable for the league, but to concentrate on the selection, age and potential for the players. Plus working with and taking from our academy. We are also introducing a development team that will actually be working between the academy and the first team.

"So many players are out of contract. That’s his [Taylor’s] decision to keep or not to keep but yes, naturally there will be changes. The changes depend on which positions he wants to fill first and where he wants to progress but it’s just happened and I think it’s a good thing that quite a good number of players are out of contract.

Matt Taylor will have the opportunity to build a Bristol Rovers team in his image over the summer -Credit:Tom Sandberg/PPAUK
Matt Taylor will have the opportunity to build a Bristol Rovers team in his image over the summer -Credit:Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

"It’s all about recruitment," the co-owner added. "How you recruit, how you select your players and really how you put those players into action and that is what can get us further and really what our goal is next season is very clear. We would like to build a competitive team for next season that can actually compete in the top 10. That would basically be our target but eventually, in three to five years, that team could hopefully progress further."

In an open letter to supporters published in February, AlSaeed outlined the ambition to see Rovers promoted to the Championship within three years but has repeatedly stressed the importance of sustainability and the Gas not putting all their eggs in one basket in a bid to get promoted immediately only to come straight back down.

The signing of Kamil Conteh from Grimsby Town on a three-and-a-half year contract in January has created a blueprint of the type of business Rovers are aiming to complete over the summer with an emphasis on bringing in young players whose development can directly correlate with the progress that the club makes while eventually becoming profitable assets.

Admittedly, Taylor has said in press conferences that experience will be needed in the squad to ensure that there is the right balance within the roster and that will be a task for Director of Football George Friend as well as the analytical and scouting departments put in place over the course of this season. Having that structure will prove essential with the Rovers Chairman emphasising the point that that wasn't there when he first invested in the football club last summer.

"What has changed, and I think it is very important, is the set up for this recruitment," AlSaeed declared. "We did not have that set up last summer. So I would say that the budget will be utilised optimally this summer and the selection and recruitment will be done with better information, better signs, better analysis so we hope that we can achieve better results with the same budget.

"Not every signing this summer will be three to five years. Certain people will be for a different period, it depends, but it will be a mixture of young with longer term contracts and experienced players that can actually help in the games. It would be a mix of the two I would say.

"But the ones that we identify to be an essential part of the club and the team will be awarded a long term contract."