Middlesbrough’s gain is Premier League sides’ loss

I realise that as I write this, Middlesbrough have signed the Scottish striker for £9m, a move which you feel will probably propel Middlesbrough to the Premier League if all goes well.

However it has taken the striker a long time to get the recognition he deserves, and it is a surprise that more Premier League clubs have not snapped up the young striker before now. Considering for a long time he has proved his worth in the Championship, why has the Scotsman not followed the examples of players like Charlie Austin, Danny Ings, Shane Long and more to the Premier League?

Rhodes has been one of the Championship’s most consistent strikers, regularly scoring over 20 goals per season for both Huddersfield and Blackburn. It was this kind of form that saw Blackburn pay £8m for him 2012, making him the second most expensive transfer outside of the Premier League.

Early on in his career, Rhodes had faced disappointment, with a move to Ipswich not proving to be as successful as he had hoped. Afterwards he went through loan spells to Oxford, Rochdale and Brentford, before moving to Huddersfield in in 2009 for £350,000. What followed was two seasons being Huddersfield’s top goal scorer, with 23 and 22 goals in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons. He then began the 2011/12 seasons with 13 goals in his first 13 games, putting emphasis on just how much quality he has.

This led to his move to Blackburn and after being League One Player of the Year in 2012, he finished the season with 36 league goals. It illustrated that Rhodes was moving up to the next level, and at Blackburn he has continued to be among the goals, although he has been let down by his Blackburn team not being stable enough to fight for promotion.

Rhodes has consistently performed for Blackburn, something which has seen him named in the Football Management Team of the decade in 2015, highlighting just how far this striker has come. This and being a regular member in the Scottish international squad emphasise his progress.

Now at Middlesbrough, Rhodes could easily be the missing piece that can propel them back to the Premier League, a league they have not been able to reach since being relegated in 2009. But considering how there is seemingly a lack of strikers in England’s top tier, why has he not been snapped up before?

When you consider that a lot of teams have struggled for goals, Rhodes could easily have fitted in for a number of sides. Teams like Swansea have tried to sign him but not prevailed, yet they could have done with him for his goals. Swansea, Norwich, Southampton, Bournemouth, Leicester, Newcastle, Sunderland, Aston Villa could all have done with his goals and, perhaps, should have taken the risk. Arsene Wenger himself has spoken of Rhodes’ talent in the past, and says he has suffered due to teams looking elsewhere for strikers.

Rhodes should easily be a proven Premier League striker by now, and if a team had taken a risk, he could be topping the scoring charts. Now though, he will have to further prove himself by firing Boro to the Premier League, and only then you feel will clubs be willing to take that risk on this talented Scotsman.

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