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Another summer of overhaul at Rotherham

Despite a summer of claims that things would be different this time around, Rotherham’s dealings in the transfer window had a very familiar feeling.

Boss Steve Evans spent most of the close season saying that they would be targeting quality over quantity in the transfer market and that lessons had been learned from last season’s mass squad overhaul.

Yet on Tuesday night, Rotherham still found themselves scrambling around to beat the transfer deadline and get more players through the door.

Indeed, the late arrivals of Lee Camp, Tony Andreu and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, with all three announced after the 6pm deadline on Tuesday, took the number of recruits at the Millers this summer to 15, just two short of last summer’s mammoth recruitment drive – a tactic which Evans admitted he got wrong.

Of course, there have been mitigating circumstances.

When Evans predicted at the end of last season he would need to make six or seven signings, it was on the basis of keeping Ben Pringle, Kari Arnason and Craig Morgan.

However, Pringle and Morgan chose to reject new contracts and Arnason was sold to Malmo and the Millers were forced to find replacements.

Other signings, like Chris Maguire and Joe Newell, were long-term targets that the Millers were made to wait on and had they come through the door earlier on in the window, then other signings may not have been made.

Then there has been the terrible start to the season, which has seen four losses from the opening five league games, and that has also forced Evans’ hand, certainly in terms of Lee Camp’s signing.

Although it may not seem it judging by results so far, Evans was right in the assertion that there would be quality brought in.

There is no comparison to be made between the likes of Mat Sadler, Ryan Hall, Conor Newton and Febian Brandy and Joe Mattock, Maguire, Grant Ward and Emmanuel Ledesma in terms of quality and experience.

Every player that has been brought in, on paper at least, looks like they have strengthened the squad, but with so many new faces at the club, questions about team spirit – something that an Evans team is famed for – and how that is garnered to levels of previous Rotherham teams have to be asked.

As well as the lack of puzzling signings - like Brandy and Hall - another key difference this summer has been the lack of spending.

The Millers, who sold Kieran Agard last summer, spent around £650,000 on Jordan Bowery and Jonson Clarke-Harris, but despite cash bids being made for several players, all 15 players that have arrived have been on frees or loans, with the exception of Newell.

The amount of players coming through the door should come as no surprise.

This is Evans’ modus operandi and it has taken Rotherham from League Two and Don Valley to the Championship, bringing one of the most successful eras in the club’s history.

And for every Luke Rooney or John Swift, there has been a James Tavernier or Craig Morgan.

Those three deadline day signings took the number of signings made by Evans during his three years and four months at the club to a staggering 88 – on average one every 14 days or every two games.

Evans has always been able to get the best out of his sides despite a raft of new arrivals and his three seasons at the Millers have all followed a similar pattern, where it has taken them a few weeks until the get fully up and running.

Last season, it was not until September and October that the Millers played arguably their best football of the season, in a run of games against Blackburn, Norwich, Leeds, Fulham and Brighton.

The hope is that, with an international break to work on the training ground on tactics and systems and in the dressing room on blending the new faces together, when we next see the Millers at Charlton on September 12, it’s a side that begins to perform to its potential.

Their start to the season means that the alternative does not bear thinking about.

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