Jordan Rhodes: The Man West Ham Need To Avoid Second Season Syndrome

With Andy Carroll expected to return to Liverpool at the end of the season, West Ham will need a new striker. It's no shock, in that case, to see them linked with a move for Rhodes.
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With Andy Carroll expected to return to Liverpool at the end of the season, West Ham will need a new striker. It's no shock, in that case, to see them linked with a move for Rhodes.

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As is customary for a proven goalscorer who plies his trade for a struggling club, Jordan Rhodes is a weary man linked with moving on from Blackburn Rovers in the summer transfer window - and as much as I hate to admit it, I wouldn't blame him for doing just that. West Ham are the principal club linked with Blackburn's chief goalscorer, and as much as I dislike a team wearing claret and blue, they could be a good match for him.

After signing on the dotted line and moving to the unstable Lancashire club merely months ago, for a rather expensive £8m, it appears that all roads lead away from Ewood Park for the 23-year-old striker. Such speculation is no surprise, and begrudgingly acceptable, given that the former Terrier has managed to net 20 times in the Championship for a wounded Blackburn Rovers side which has suffered a season-long creativity drought.

What is perhaps even more impressive, is Rhodes' ability to maintain his goalscoring focus in the most tempestuous part of his career, due to the fact that the Scotland international has played under eight different managers for club and country this season.

Ability-wise, Rhodes is unquestionable. Give him the ball in and around the 18-yard box, and it's probable that the opposition goalkeeper will be either picking the ball out of his net or making a save. Though he lacks in pace, Rhodes makes up for this in work rate - he's certainly not a player who gives up on even a lost cause. Though clichéd, whether he uses his left foot, right foot or his head, it doesn't really make too much difference; he's a goalscorer. Following up a club record 36 league goal season for Huddersfield, with a current haul of 22 league goals during the current campaign, this goalscoring reputation is certainly very real.

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However, he isn't quite as one-dimensional as a poacher. Through tactical incompetence or a huge injury list, Rhodes has often found himself leading the line alone for Rovers, which is a situation he has proven he can also deal with. Though he'd rather be facing in the opposite direction, Rhodes can contribute with his back to goal through ever-improving hold-up play, despite limited service.

Standing at 6"1, Rhodes can hold his own in the air too, which might just be the clincher if the Scot is truly subject to interest from Sam Allardyce's West Ham. With the Hammers playing direct football under the former Rovers manager, Rhodes might just get the service required to truly show what his finishing touch is capable of.

The scary thing is that the Rhodes sits in third place in the Championship leading goalscorer rankings, without a well-oiled machine of a team to feed him. Blackburn lack a midfielder capable of the driving runs of Mohamed Diame, or a statistically proven crosser of the ball such as Matt Jarvis or Matthew Taylor and yet Rhodes still managed to bag a goal on an almost gamely basis.

Without even feeling as though I've seen Jordan Rhodes at his best, due to Rovers' squad lacking technical ability, I dread to think what a team centred around direct delivery in and around the box could do with him. If he possessed more pace, I'd be tipping him for the highest reaches of English football, but West Ham could be a good move for Rhodes if they can appreciate a hard-working and passionate young striker with a keen eye for goal.