27 year old striker Jay Rodriguez could find a temporary new home in the Midlands, as West Brom and Hull City both registered interest early this week.
27 year old Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez has found himself the subject of intense interest from within the Premier League, as the final sprint to the end of the transfer window kicks off in earnest.
The Telegraph report that West Brom manager Tony Pulis is keen to sign Rodriguez as a squad-strengthening measure, reportedly one of five signings the Baggies’ board hope to complete in the late stages of the summer window.
We’ve got targets this summer but it’s taking time. There’s a good spirit already here but I’m keen to bring in better players to lift the squad and to make it more competitive.
It’s been a tough summer for Pulis and West Brom. A Chinese takeover in the run-up to the season’s kickoff brought with it all the turmoil and speculation that such moves normally bring, though the ever-unflappable gaffer has given little indication that anything much has changed. Though West Brom has signed only one player so far, ex-QPR winger Matt Williams, Pulis dismissed out-of-hand any thoughts of a crisis at the Hawthorns.
“We’ve got targets this summer but it’s taking time,” the 58 year old boss told the Telegraph yesterday. “There’s a good spirit already here but I’m keen to bring in better players to lift the squad and to make it more competitive.”
Jay Rodriguez, once pipped as the next big striker for England before having his life upended by a horrific injury in 2014, certainly would seem to fit that bill. Though doubts have swirled surrounding his form since that time, he’s featured in Southampton’s preseason in put in a shift off the bench, albeit a short one, during last Friday’s 2-0 away loss at Old Trafford.
Assuming the move went through, Jay Rodriguez would likely see the benefit of significantly increased playing time, slotting in ahead of the aging Rickie Lambert, himself a former Southampton protege, to back up Salomon Rondon and Saido Berahino up front.
Tigers Circle, Place Competing Bid
If Pulis wants to obtain the services of Jay Rodriguez, though, he may find himself with some competition up the M1. The Hull Daily Mail have reported that Mike Phelan’s team are also interested in the Southampton striker on a year-long loan offer.
It would be a welcome sign of life for the Tigers, who have yet to complete a signing this summer amid internal turmoil and the sudden departure of manager Steve Bruce last month. Despite their situation, or perhaps inspired by it, the club have been class on the pitch, currently sitting on six points after convincing wins over reigning champions Leicester City and Welsh side Swansea.
As the club have yet to show any signs of trouble finding the net, it remains uncertain that Jay Rodriguez would get significantly increased play over his current position on Southampton’s pecking order.
Still, after two years out of significant playtime, a change of scenery and perhaps the lowered expectations of a lower-midtable club might do his form—and confidence—wonders.
Claude Puel, for his part, is reported to have stated that neither Rodriguez nor any other attacking player will be allowed to leave unless and until a replacement can be signed. With how the window’s gone for Saints so far, it’s an understandable sentiment, and may temper expectations of a late move for the former England U21 international. That said, with 9 days to go, anything can happen.