Nigel Adkins is set to break a club record fee to bring the Burnley marksmen to St. Mary's. But can Jay Rodriguez make the step up to the Premier League?
Newly promoted Southampton have apparently made a bid of around £7 million pound for Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez and the 21 year old is mulling over a move into the Premier League. With his 21 goals for The Clarets last season, Rodriguez caught the eye of a host of top flight clubs but it looks as if Nigel Adkins is on the verge of sealing a deal to bring him to St. Mary’s. So what are Southampton getting for their money and is he worth shelling out a club record fee for him?
Two seasons ago as a nineteen year old, Jay spent a short spell on loan at Barnsley and he immediately made the perfect start to his time at Oakwell. Within seconds of coming on as a second half substitute away to Preston North End, as all good strikers do, Jay found himself in the right place, at the right time, to slot home a square pass from Andy Gray to score with his first touch of the ball. At that time in his career, I would have said that was him in a nutshell. His finishing was clinical. He had the power when he needed it but whenever he was taking part in shooting drills, invariably he’d just cooly side-foot the ball just out of the keeper’s reach, into the bottom corner. He never snatched at an opportunity, he merely guided the ball to where he wanted to go.
Since then, his whole game has developed to become a more rounded player and because he has often used on the left of a five man midfield, his game appreciation has flourished too. He isn’t the most natural of wide men but his pace and high work rate are big advantage when playing down the flanks. After his finishing prowess, his ability in the air is his next biggest asset. It was especially noticeable when he was out on the left and Burnley keeper Lee Grant aimed a goal kick towards the opposition’s right full back and Jay’s run across him would be timed to perfection to flick the ball on to the waiting striker in behind.
£7 million is a big price tag for a 21 year old to carry around with him on the pitch but he’s a level headed lad who won’t let that adversely affect him. Only time and the amount of goals he bags will prove whether he’s worth that sort of fee but if he keeps progressing at the rate of the past two years, his stay on the south coast will be brief. In football, goals are the highest form of currency and if Jay keeps Southampton in the Premier League, his transfer fee will seem like small fry.
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