What Should Pellegrino Do With Jay Rodriguez Amid Interest From Newcastle United and Burnley?

Jay Rodriguez

Despite having a decent season under Claude Puel, that saw them finish eighth in the Premier League and reach the finals of the EFL Cup, Southampton decided to part ways with the manager and have appointed Mauricio Pellegrino as the Frenchman’s replacement.

Having gotten a taste for over-achieving under the reigns of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman after him, the Saints have grown to expect success and Pellegrino will have a tough job on his hands if he is to meet the lofty ambitions that the club has set for itself.

One of the first tasks that the 45-year old Argentine will have to do is address the situation of star defender Virgil van Dijk, obviously. But, apart from that, another member of the squad that will be seeking clarification over his future at the club will be striker Jay Rodriguez. The 27-year old Englishman has had a stop-start career since his move to the South Coast club and struggled for game time in the last season.

With the new manager coming in, there is a strong chance that he would bring in his own players, who will fit into his scheme of things. That does cast dark clouds over what role Rodriguez will have to play at the St. Mary’s, if he is a part of the plans that is. Should Southampton offload him in the summer? Or should they keep hold of the player?

Rodriguez joined Southampton from Burnley back in the summer of 2012 and had an impressive start to life at St. Mary’s. An excellent 2013-14 season saw him make a huge impression. His purple patch saw him being on the brink of earning a spot in the squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but a knee ligament rupture ahead of the football’s premier competition meant he couldn’t be a part of the team.

And following that serious injury, Rodriguez has never been able to reach the heights that made him a household name back then. Having missed close to two complete seasons of football since then, Rodriguez returned to action only in the final phases of the 2015-16 season.

This past term too, he struggled to stay fit for long stretches of the season and as a result was limited to just 9 Premier League starts. Behind the likes of Manolo Gabbiadini, Shane Long and Charlie Austin in the pecking order, Rodriguez managed 34 appearances in all competitions, scoring just six times and chalking up three assists.

At 27 years of age, Rodriguez has plenty of football left in him. But, having struggled to get into a consistent goal-scoring form for the Saints following that sole impressive season in 2013-14, there are several doubts if he will be able to recapture that sort of form, especially when he continues to be blighted by injuries.

The English forward has just two years left on his contract and this transfer window presents Southampton a great opportunity to make a decent profit on a player who hasn’t performed to the best of his abilities for quite some time now. And with strong interest from West Bromwich Albion along with the likes of Newcastle United and Burnley (Daily Mail), the Saints will be better off selling Rodriguez and investing in fresh blood over the summer.

Written by Raghavendra Goudar

Mechanical Engineer, avid reader and a football fanatic.

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