This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
There were changes aplenty for West Ham United in attack during the summer, with Andy Carroll, Marko Arnautovic, Lucas Perez and Javier Hernandez all leaving the club, and Sebastien Haller and Albian Ajeti arriving.
The latter two weren’t the only strikers linked with a move to the London Stadium however, with The Sun reporting back in June that the Irons were ‘aware of’ Valencia’s Rodrigo after he scored 15 goals and provided a further 10 assists in 51 appearances in all competitions for the La Liga outfit last term.
At the time The Sun reported that the Spanish club could demand up to £70m for the 28-year-old’s services, but that £30m was a more realistic fee that they would ask for.
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The Spain international, who captained Valencia in their opening top flight fixture of the campaign, may be yet to get off the mark in club football, but it is a different story for his country – well after Sunday anyway, that is.
The one-time Bolton Wanderers loanee had started out wide during the 2-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win against Romania on Thursday, but he was back in a more central role for the visit of the Faroe Islands to Gijon.
The Valencia attacker didn’t let his country down as he led the line and scored a brace from four shots in total, according to SofaScore, and he should have had a hat-trick had it not been for some questionable finishing.
However, the 29-year-old showed his all-round game by also making one key pass and winning one aerial duel against the European minnows, to show the quality that he brings to whichever team he is playing for – he is certainly a different player to the one who found the net just once in 17 Premier League outings for the Trotters previously.
Haller may have hit the ground running with the Hammers having scored three times in his previous two top flight appearances, but it remains to be seen whether he has that stiff competition for his spot in the starting XI from Ajeti, who disappointed for Switzerland in their success against Gibraltar on Sunday.
Judging by his latest display Rodrigo would have been a better option for Pellegrini if the price was right, having shown exactly what he is capable of.