In Focus: Newcastle eye out-of-favour Southampton star; a risk worth taking

According to reports in the Daily Mail, Newcastle United have joined the race to sign Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Saints forward has grown frustrated at a lack of starts under manager Claude Puel this season and is ready to leave the club this summer in order to kick-start his career following the terrible injury he suffered in 2014.

Rafa Benitez is said to be keen on signing the 27-year-old if the club seals promotion back to the Premier League – they will do so with a win against Preston North End at St James’ Park on Monday night – although he could face competition from West Bromwich Albion, who came close to agreeing a £12m deal for the January transfer window before Charlie Austin picked up a shoulder injury in December.

How has he done this season?

Despite finding a consistent run in the side hard to come by, Rodriguez has scored four goals in 19 Premier League appearances and has shown glimpses that he could get back to the impressive attacking player he was prior to the injury he suffered against Manchester City in 2014.

He appears to have fallen further down the pecking order following the arrival of Manolo Gabbiadini during the January transfer window.

Although he appears to lack the sharpness and pace that he had back then, it could return if he is given regular football.

Can he make an impact for Newcastle?

He certainly can.

It really does seem to be a case that the attacker needs a new home to reignite his career and Newcastle could be the ideal setting to do that.

He would certainly get the game time he craves and would be suited to the counter-attacking style that Rafa Benitez is likely to implement in certain matches should they seal their return to the Premier League.

How much would he cost?

Despite his lack of playing time Southampton would still be looking to get at least £10m for a player that still has two years left to run on his contract at St Mary’s, and Benitez may see that as a risk worth taking.