Jay Rodriguez It is glaringly obvious that Newcastle United have two prolific strikers in Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse. However, it has often been pointed out that United don’t have goal machines in back-up strikers Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands and Shola Ameobi, and so scoring goals could be a problem come next January’s Africa Cup of Nations when both our Senegalese strikers could be away for up to a month. It is therefore unsurprising that Burnley’s star striker Jay Rodriguez could be on his way to Tyneside according to the Daily Mirror.
There’s no doubt that Rodriguez has been in fine form this season. At just 22 years old, the Claret has banged in 21 goals in 41 games in all competitions, making him joint 4th top scorer in the Championship with 15 goals. He possesses enough pace and trickery to be deployed as a winger, a portrayal of versatility which is what is needed for United’s anticipated congested fixture list next season due to probable European qualification.
But what makes him the subject of much media scrutiny is the speed at which he is developing. Having been born in Burnley, he signed for his local club in 2000 having shown potential at the age of 10. He then went on to make his debut for the club in December 2007 in a 1-0 home defeat to Bristol Cityat 18 years old. Since being drafted into the first team, he has enjoyed loan spells at Stirling Albion and Barnsley in order to gain first team experience, an attribute which is crucial for any young player.
In November 2010, Rodriguez achieved national recognition when he was called up to the England U21 before coming on as a substitute in February 2011 against Italy U21s. The squad included Premier League regulars Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Johnny Howson and Jack Rodwell, showing just how highly Rodriguez is rated.
Rodriguez could be just what we need, with an imminent European campaign and the possible departure of Demba Ba. My one worry would be whether he’s able to make the step up to the Premier League, but the speed at which he’s developing should mean that isn’t a problem.
Current Ability: 2.5/5
Likelihood of signing: 3.5/5
Transfer value: £4 – £5 million