There must be a worry over Jay Rodriguez’s ability to reproduce top-level form after two-and-a-half years of injury hell at Southampton, but West Brom could end up with the loan signing of the season if he does.
Baggies boss Tony Pulis is still thought to be pursuing Sporting Lisbon’s Islam Slimani despite talk of Arsenal being keen on the striker, but Hull’s reported interest in Rodriguez ought to turn the Welshman’s attentions closer to home.
It appears West Brom were somewhere down the line with a move for the former Burnley forward, whose fine scoring form for the Clarets and the Saints between 2010-14 led to an England bow three years ago.
Rodriguez’s record of 21 goals and eight assists from his first 68 Premier League appearances wasn’t added to in the 14 games he has played in the top flight since initially returning from a year out, only three of which have been starts.
Having shone under Mauricio Pochettino on the south coast, many expected Rodriguez to follow the Argentine to Tottenham, where a prolific wide-forward still wouldn’t go amiss, but after further ankle surgery ruled him out from October last season until April, sights have been lowered.
Should West Brom see off Hull for his temporary services this summer, they’ll be picking up a player that fired home five times in four Premier League fixtures prior to being struck down against Manchester City with six weeks left in the 2013/14 campaign.
Those goals were part of a run of 15 in his previous 26 top-flight appearances going into the 4-1 Etihad loss, a ratio not far off Slimani’s 31 in 44 all-competition fixtures for Sporting last term.
Rodriguez is hardly a like-for-like with the Algerian, who may be brought in to challenge or eventually replace Barcelona-linked number nine Salomon Rondon at the Hawthorns, but the 27-year-old might fancy a crack at the second-striker role currently taken by Saido Berahino.
Alternatively, the Burnley-born forgotten man could tuck in at wide-forward if Pulis reverts to one up front.