Sunday, January 29, 2023

West Bromwich Albion Signs Southampton Forward: The Perfect Solution In Front Of Goal?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

West Bromwich Albion have finally closed the deal for Southampton’s forgotten forward Jay Rodriguez for £12 million. The English forward has been on Tony Pulis’ radar for quite some time now and the Welshman’s desperate need for attacking reinforcements found a perfect solution in the Saints’ striker.

This is the third time that Pulis tabled a bid for the player, after failing to bring him at Hawthorns on the previous two occasions. It was last summer when Pulis first wanted to get the striker on loan but Southampton decided against it right at the last moment. It was followed by yet another attempt last January but Southampton was excessively short on attacking options then and things failed to materialise yet again.

West Brom had one of the best seasons in top flight football last campaign as they finished 10th in the league table collecting 45 points. Having only one natural centre-forward like Salomon Rondon, the Baggies didn’t have the best of scoring record for obvious reasons as they tapped in only 43 goals in 36 games. The addition of Rodriguez could change these stats next season though, given his brilliant finishing abilities.

Claude Puel’s squad rotating philosophy meant that Rodriguez failed to establish himself in the first team at St. Mary’s last term. But he remained quite ineffective as an impact player and him getting only nine starts all season didn’t help his confidence. It led him to start from the bench gradually as the season progressed ending up with just six goals and three assists in 35 appearances.

Although it is yet to be seen what he is he capable of when he is given more starts, the fact that Mauricio Pochettino wanted to bring him to White Hart Lane when he became Tottenham Hotspur’s manager says a lot about his prowess as a striker.

It was back in 2012 when Rodriguez moved from Burnley to Southampton with Pochettino in charge of the side. Despite showing glimpses of quality, repeated injuries and Southampton’s adamancy in holding on to him led to a downfall of his professional career.

Now 27, he is yet to make any sort of impact at the national level. However, he could really flourish under Pulis with his superior technique and ahead of the World Cup next year could reignite his chances of getting a national call-up. But is he the right man for West Brom?

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