Bournemouth Opinion: Cherries should beat Burnley to sign Jay Rodriguez this summer
According to Express and Star, Burnley and Bournemouth are amongst the clubs who are interested in offering West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez a route back to the Premier League, with reports claiming that the 29-year-old might head for the exit door at Hawthorns this summer.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe knows Rodriguez well from his time at Burnley, having worked with the striker at Turf Moor earlier in his managerial career. It was under Howe that Rodriguez enjoyed some of his most prolific spells and his familiarity with the manager might give the Cherries an upper hand in this deal.
Rodriguez’s hometown club Burnley are also very much in the race to re-sign him, although the Clarets are yet to make any formal approach for the 29-year-old centre-forward. (h/t Express and Star)
Rodriguez scored 22 goals for West Brom in the Championship this past season, as the Baggies went all the way to the playoff semi-finals, where a defeat to Aston Villa ended their chances of securing promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. The 1-cap England international’s prolific form in the second-tier hasn’t gone unnoticed and it is not surprising to see the likes of Bournemouth and Burnley weigh up moves for him.
An academy product of Burnley, Rodriguez netted 41 goals in 128 appearances for the Clarets before switching boats to join newly-promoted club Southampton in the summer of 2012. The striker hit great heights during his time at St.Mary’s and bagged as many as 15 goals in the Premier League in the 2013-14 season, which earned him a call-up to the England team.
The 29-year-old made his move to West Brom back in the summer of 2017 following an impressive spell with Southampton but he struggled to hit the ground running in his inaugural season at the Hawthorns, as the Baggies suffered relegation to the Championship. Rodriguez made amends with 22 goals this term but that wasn’t enough to propel the club back to the top-flight.
To put things into perspective, Jay Rodriguez is still very much in his prime and a player of his quality certainly deserves to play in the Premier League. He would be a good signing for either of the two aforementioned clubs but Bournemouth could bag a massive coup if they manage to beat off competition from their Premier League rivals Burnley in the race to sign the 29-year-old.
Bournemouth have already set the ball rolling in the summer transfer window with the acquisition of left-back Lloyd Kelly from Bristol City, which is quite understandable given that the Cherries shipped goals at an alarming rate this past season.
However, they also need to bring in reinforcements in the attack, with the likes of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser both linked with moves away to bigger clubs this summer.
Lys Mousset has attracted attention from Celtic (h/t Scottish Sun), whilst Jermain Defoe, who is currently on loan at Rangers, apparently doesn’t have a future at the Vitality Stadium under Eddie Howe.
Hence, the departure of Wilson, Fraser and Mousset could jeopardise Bournemouth’s campaign in the Premier League next season and Jay Rodriguez presents a proven No.9 option at a reasonable price.
Standing at 6ft. 1 inch with a towering frame, Rodriguez is capable of operating as the focal point of the attack, with his smart hold-up play, ability to link up with his teammates and intelligent movement inside the box making him a complete striker up front.
A natural finisher with both feet and head, the 29-year-old not only excels with his clinical nature in front of goal but he is also capable of creating chances with his passing and vision. It is beyond doubt that the presence of Rodriguez would be a huge asset to Bournemouth, irrespective of what the future holds for Wilson.
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Signing talented youngsters has been an integral part of Bournemouth’s transfer policy but they should also look to add a bit more experience to their ranks this summer. Keeping that in mind, the acquisition of Jay Rodriguez could prove to be a make-or-break factor in their pursuit of a top-ten finish next term.