West Bromwich Albion have completed the signing of Jay Rodriguez for a fee of roughly £12 million. The 27-year-old leaves Southampton after a mixed five seasons on the South Coast.
He finished his career at St Mary’s Stadium with 32 goals in 126 appearances. It isn’t a bad record, but he will look back on his time with the club with a lot of regrets, with most centred on the injuries that he suffered.
During the 2013-14 season, he was one of the best attackers in the Premier League, as his form earned him his first and only England cap to date. He would have been a contender to start in the World Cup if it wasn’t for a serious knee injury.
At that time, he was considered as an exciting a talent as Adam Lallana, with both performing to a high level on a weekly basis. The two have had different career paths since then, but the move to the Hawthorns could provide Rodriguez with the fresh start that he so desperately needs.[interaction id=”59594ea0f7ddd65e0bcdf4b9"]
Last season, he had first-team opportunities, but he had lost a yard of pace and his confidence was still severely damaged from the injuries he had suffered. He featured 24 times in the Premier League, contributing five goals and two assists. Considering that he was mainly used as a substitute, this is a decent return and there were a couple of performances that showed he could still thrive at this level.
After the signing was announced, he had the following to say on his transfer to the official club site:
“After one or two ‘near misses’ I’m absolutely buzzing to be here. The most important thing for any player is to be wanted – and Tony Pulis and Albion have made it clear just how much they have wanted me to join. That’s fantastic for any footballer to hear.
“I’m genuinely delighted to be joining a club of Albion’s stature. The team is full of top players and it’s pretty clear that they are also a great set of lads.”
The comment about being wanted suggests that he no longer felt that way at Southampton. During his time on the treatment table, Saints moved on and it was difficult for the attacker to get back into the team after his return. West Brom will suit his style too, as they are a hard-working team in which every individual knows their role. Rodriguez is a willing runner and he has the ability to fit in as a striker, or as a winger on either side.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the transfer:
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) July 2, 2017
— Matt Le Tissier (@mattletiss7) July 2, 2017
West Brom fans were happy about it on the whole:
Let us hope Jay Rodriguez is the player he was before his awful injury #wba
— Jay Hickman (@HurricaneHic147) July 2, 2017
— Richard Lewis (@RichWba89) July 2, 2017
Southampton fans were sad to see him go, but believed it was the right time:
— Daniel Champion (@lord_champion) July 2, 2017
I miss the days under MP when Jay Rodriguez used to bomb it down the left wing feeding of Lambert. Looked so promising. Good times#saintsfc
— ashley (@ashwallace24) July 2, 2017
Best deal all round for Jay Rodriguez and #saintsfc
— Jason Lawson (@jase1962) July 2, 2017
Finally, this transfer is another that shows the inflation in transfer fees this summer: