Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWho will win the race to sign Jordan Rhodes? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Who will win the race to sign Jordan Rhodes? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Who will win the race to sign Jordan Rhodes?

Jordan Rhodes has been prolific so far this season.  In his 21 appearances for League One Huddersfield Town he has netted 25 times.  Perhaps an even more alarming statistic is the 49 shots he has taken, scoring with every other attempt on goal.  This record has earned him a lot of attention from the media, as well as from Premier League scouts, who have been flocking to the Galpharm Stadium in their masses over the past month.  In fact, on the evening of Friday the 6th of this month, no fewer than 8 were present as Huddersfield travelled to struggling Wycombe, recording a hefty 6-0 win; Rhodes scored five of them.  His goal scoring form has propelled the Yorkshire side to third place in League One and his manager, Lee Clarke, looks set to have a tough job keeping hold of him.  If he is forced to let go of his leading man, the Huddersfield boss will be looking for a fee nearer the £10 million mark than the £4 million that has reportedly been offered for Rhodes’ services.  In terms of transfer speculation, scout visits and hype, Rhodes is probably the most in-demand player in English football right now.  If the speculation is to be validated and Rhodes does in fact move this month, who is most likely to secure his signature?

Everton – Not the most likely candidates in the equation, Everton hardly have a history of spending big cash.  David Moyes may also be put off by his signing of Jermaine Beckford from League One Leeds in 2010, something of a failed experiment.  Despite these factors, the Merseyside club need a goal scorer and, with a handful of former football league strikers scoring regularly in the top flight this season, the Scotsman could be convinced to take a chance on Rhodes.

Bolton – Owen Coyle’s side are struggling this season and, whilst his priority is to replace Chelsea-bound Gary Cahill, his strikers haven’t been on song so far this term.  Ivan Klasnic has found the net a few times, but Kevin Davies and David N’Gog have rarely looked threatening and he ought to add to his squad before the relegation fight really begins.  Rhodes will be a tempting acquisition but, with so many suitors and a potentially high price tag, Bolton could be edged out of the race for his signature.

Wigan – Roberto Martinez’s side are currently rock bottom of the Premiership and on a bad run of form.  Hugo Rodallega is not looking like the hot property he has long promised to be and Connor Sammon, despite working tirelessly, has not made a convincing transition from the SPL.  Similarly to Bolton and Everton, Wigan could be priced out of a deal for Rhodes, especially considering the risk involved, but taking exactly that risk could be the catalyst for a decent run-in and, ultimately, survival.

QPR – A new manager and a bit of money to throw around could be a winning formula for QPR in the second half of the season.  The late appointment does mean that Mark Hughes may be pressured into a spot of panic buying towards the end of the month and, although he has been linked with some big names, Rhodes may prove to be the smart option.  The Rs have struggled for goals up until now, but with a number of decent strikers already in the squad, Federico Macheda recently arriving on loan and Brazilian Henrique reportedly closing in on a deal, he may wish to strengthen elsewhere first.

Aston Villa – Rumours have been linking Darren Bent with a £25 million move away from Villa Park this month and, although I doubt the likelihood of such a deal, he would have to be replaced, were it to happen.  It’s hard to say exactly how much of that cash Alex Mcleish would be given to find a replacement and perhaps he would seek a proven goal scorer at the top level.  However, with all the hype and interest in Rhodes, Mcleish way well see capturing him ahead of Villa’s rivals as something of a coup.

Sunderland – An impressive resurgence following the appointment of Martin O’Neill last month has included a win over Man City and a rapid climb up the table.  Despite this, the Black Cats still look a striker short and may well have a few million to play around with in the next couple of weeks.  Stephane Sessegnon has been the driving force as Sunderland go forward, but an injury to him would cause big problems for O’Neill.  Perhaps bringing in Rhodes this month would reduce their reliance on Sessegnon and provide an attractive alternative to Nicklas Bendtner leading the line.

Blackburn – It’s been an excellent couple of weeks for Steve Kean, a man who has looked in big trouble for large parts of this season.  Yakubu’s goals have been crucial to Blackburn and, although they managed to put three past Fulham following his unfair dismissal at the weekend, some cover for the Nigerian would be invaluable.  The club look set to lose Chris Samba this month, and possibly even Junior Hoilett, and Kean will be eager to spend that cash flow on new blood as his side look to move away from the bottom three.  Rhodes would most likely be glad to join Blackburn, as the squad is actually quite strong and finally finding some form under its resilient boss.

Leicester City – It may not be a move to the top flight that Rhodes will prefer, opting instead to join a Championship side.  If this is the case, Lee Clark will no doubt be trying to convince him to hang around at the Galpharm and help get Huddersfield up to that level next season.  However, he will most likely view a Championship move as a stepping-stone to the highest level within a year or two.  Leicester City aren’t exceeding themselves at the moment, but they have the financial muscle to attract Rhodes and to mount a push for the Premiership soon.  It is an option that both parties are likely to consider, but perhaps there are more favourable destinations in the second tier.

Southampton – The Saints are flying high this season, topping the Championship table and making a strong case for promotion.  Rickie Lambert is having another productive season at St. Mary’s and could well attract Premier League suitors.  The performances of Grant Holt, Steve Morison and Danny Graham, all in the classic ‘Number 9’ mould, this season may have convinced Premiership managers to take a chance on Lambert, a similar type of player.  This would leave the door open for Nigel Adkins to look at Rhodes, giving him a few months of Championship football and a chance to prove himself at that level before making the big step up.  However, if Lambert stays put this month, Adkins will most likely leave Rhodes alone and maintain the formula that has served his side so well to date.

West Ham – Up at the top of the league with Southampton, West Ham will expect an immediate return to the top flight.  Not just because they are the quality outfit in the Championship, but also because they can’t maintain their wage bill in the second tier for too long.  The Hammers’ possible interest in Rhodes comes despite their plentiful attacking options already.  In fact, for their visit to Derby County last month, West Ham fielded a substitutes bench made up entirely of strikers, as well as starting the game with three on the pitch.  However, come the promotion push in the latter stages of the season, it’s difficult to have too much depth and Sam Allardyce will fancy the idea of giving Rhodes some Championship football prior to his side’s anticipated promotion.  This option, combined with the wages West Ham can afford, make this an attractive option from Rhodes’ point of view.

The Others – Rhodes has been linked, in the press, to a few of the Premiership’s bigger sides.  With Andy Carroll searching for form, Luis Suarez’s lengthy ban and Craig Bellamy’s knee problems, Liverpool have reportedly shown interest.  Tottenham are also said to be keen, with their striking options already limited, Pavlyuchenko possibly moving on soon and Adebayor only on loan.  Finally, Newcastle have been thrown into the mix, with Demba Ba currently in Africa and a potential injury concern.  Despite this, I’m not convinced any of that lot would be too interested in moving for the 21 year old.  As for where he will eventually end up, you can decide for yourself.  Rhodes certainly has his fair share of options, but who knows; perhaps after all this speculation he won’t be going anywhere.  If that proves to be the case, Lee Clark will be labelled as one of the most persuasive men in world football.

Paddy von Behr @HighBalls1

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