Why Sheffield United signing Jay Rodriguez would bolster their attack
Back in June 2019, a report from Lancashire Live had claimed that Sheffield United were interested in signing Jay Rodriguez, who was plying his trade with West Brom back then. However, the striker eventually completed a return to his boyhood club Burnley in the summer of 2019 and has since established himself as a key squad player at Turf Moor.
A youth exponent of Burnley, Jay Rodriguez established himself as a prolific goalscorer for the Clarets in the Championship following loan spells at Stirling Albion and Barnsley. He bagged 41 goals in 128 appearances for Burnley in all competitions before earning a move to the Premier League with Southampton in 2012.
Rodriguez made an instant impact in the top-flight, netting 21 league goals for the Saints during his first couple of campaigns at St. Mary’s.
However, his rise to stardom was thwarted by a knee injury that condemned him to a year-long spell on the treatment table. The Lancashire-born hitman found himself down the pecking order at Southampton following his return and eventually joined West Brom in 2017.
The 31-year-old couldn’t save the Baggies from relegation despite scoring 7 times in the 2017-18 Premier League season. But he did make amends with a 22-goal haul to propel West Brom to the Championship playoff semi-final in the following campaign.
Rodriguez’s exploits in the second-tier paved the way for a return to the top-flight with Burnley last summer and the striker bagged 8 goals from just 20 league starts as Sean Dyche’s side secured an impressive 10th-place finish in the PL.
Rodriguez would hand a massive boost to the Blades’ strike force
Sheffield United splashed a club-record £23.5million to sign highly-rated youngster Rhian Brewster from Liverpool this past summer to add more firepower to their attack. A significant outlay on a new striker certainly made a lot of sense considering that the Blades only managed a meagre tally of 39 goals in the PL last season.
Brewster, though, hasn’t made the kind of instant impact many would have been hoping for. The 20-year-old has struggled to make the step up to the top-flight after excelling on loan at Swansea City last season. He failed to find the net in 4 league appearances heading into the international break but it’s probably too early to pass a definitive judgement on his credentials just yet.
Truth be told, Brewster is hardly to blame for Sheffield United’s nightmarish start to the campaign that has seen them collect only a solitary point from their 8 opening fixtures so far. The Blades have scored only 4 times in the PL, with only two of those coming from open play.
David McGoldrick, Billy Sharp, Oliver McBurnie have all failed to deliver the goods in front of goal. The injury to Lys Mousset has further compounded Chris Wilder’s problems and it’s easy to figure out that the Blades need to bring in some quality reinforcements.
Sheffield United making a renewed attempt to sign Jay Rodriguez in January would offer a glimmer of hope to overturn what has been a dismal start to the campaign for the Blades. The 31-year-old ticks the box as a striker with proven pedigree in the Premier League and certainly has the quality to walk straight into Wilder’s starting eleven.
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Suffice to say, Sheffield United should look for some tried and tested striking options in the winter market and a potential deal for the vastly-experienced Jay Rodriguez could well be the difference between relegation and survival for Wilder’s side.
The 31-year-old still has enough gas left in his tank to lead the line for the Blades in the top-flight and his presence in the mix would also have a positive impact on the development of Brewster.