DOUGIE Freedman admits the idea of signing Blackburn Rovers hit-man Jordan Rhodes could fall under the category of “fantasy football”.

After a story broke on Sunday morning linking the club with an astonishing £9million raid on their neighbouring club for the Scotland international, there followed a series of very strong denials from senior sources at the Reebok Stadium.

Bitten by the notion of seeing the goal-poacher extraordinaire in Wanderers colours, supporters remain optimistic the weekend rebuttals were simply a case of throwing other would-be buyers off the scent.

But speaking to The Bolton News about the speculation, Freedman, pictured right, attempted to clarify the situation, saying he would not put the club’s financial position in jeopardy by splashing out unnecessarily.

Asked if he could envisage committing a £9m-plus club record fee on a single player whilst in the Championship, the Whites boss said: “I can only answer it in two ways – firstly, I can’t sign a cheque like that because I haven’t got enough money.

“I believe Eddie could, but in all seriousness we have got a responsibility here.

“I have been really fortunate and spent most of my career in the Championship, and I have seen lots of clubs who go and buy over-priced players and it backfires on them, they don’t get what they want and put themselves in a bad financial position.

“Of course, if any player comes up at the right price at the right value, then I’ll be knocking on the owner’s door. But I don’t get any kicks out of going and spending big money just to show fans I can do it.”

Asked again to separate “fact from fiction” in the speculation with Rhodes, the Wanderers boss admitted he was a big fan of the 23-year-old, who scored 28 goals in a struggling team at Rovers last season.

“Fact is very simple, he’s a Blackburn Rovers player and I can’t comment on him because it’s disrespectful to them,” he said.

“Fiction is something we all dream of – he’s a wonderful young player with a terrific goalscoring record. I think every manager in this division would like to have him in his team, or at least I’d like to think so.

“But that’s the difference between actual facts, and fiction.”

Wanderers have invested £1million in Jermaine Beckford and await a tribunal to decide what they will pay for West Ham winger Rob Hall.

Smaller compensation has been paid out for Sheffield Wednesday’s Hayden White and Millwall’s Conor Wilkinson – a deal officially confirmed yesterday – but both Alex Baptiste and Marc Tierney have arrived without an upfront transfer fee.

Though rumours have flown around all summer long about potential departures – Chung-Yong Lee, Tim Ream, Matt Mills, David Ngog and Marvin Sordell to name but a few – only Sam Ricketts’ move to Wolves looks certain to materialise.

Whether that leaves Wanderers with enough free cash to spend on such a grandiose deal, in the final year of their parachute payment from the Premier League, remains to be seen. But Freedman is well aware of the added pressures he now incurs with the incoming Financial Fair Play rules, which will limit the losses a Football League club can make from next season onward.

“I know all about the financial side – I worked at Crystal Palace, so when you start counting the number of biscuits you’ve got in the canteen, you know where you are going with it,” he said.

“When I got to this club I was right up to speed.

“The only one small problem I have is where the penalties kick in and what the timescales are, I think that needs to be ironed out.

“But from where we were in the Premier League to when we came down to the Championship, we are now a very well-run club on and off the pitch.

“The Medo signing was great value for money and if something else comes along with that kind of value, then we’ll do it.”