Number One Target
How many minutes of your life were wasted reading the perpetual ‘Jordan Rhodes to Aston Villa’ transfer link stories during last month?
Yes, Steve Bruce admitted he had tried to get the Middlesbrough striker in earlier in the window by offering a fee reported to be around £6m, there was more than likely also an attempt to secure the striker on loan too.
Middlesbrough though were always looking for a fee around the £10m mark to recoup their own £11m spend on the forward, who has found first team football hard to come by since his move from Blackburn Rovers.
There was also the feeling that maybe Jordan Rhodes didn’t fancy a move back to the Championship, but as MOMS predicted earlier in January, the Scottish international’s fate was more than likely going to be decided on the last day of the transfer window.
Bruce suggested he offered what he thought was the value of the striker, yet fast-forward to the end of the window and Villa spent closer to the price Boro desired on Brentford’s Scott Hogan (reported to be £9m plus £3m add-ons). Hogan had been on route to West Ham until the Hammers suddenly got cold feet.
If Villa were willing to spend this much on Hogan – who still carries doubts from his past serious knee injuries – then they must have tried an improved bid for Rhodes?
As we now know, Rhodes turned out not to be reticent about a return to the Championship as he moved Sheffield Wednesday. Initially on a loan with a view to a £10m permanent move at the end of the season. By turning their attention to Hogan, Villa would have known that their direct play-off rival, who had been in the frame for Rhodes signature for a while too, would potentially swoop.
Such a move is a hammer blow to Villa’s faint play-off hopes as we discussed in more detail on the latest MOMS podcast episode:
If there was any chance of Villa going on a run to reach the play-offs they would have to peg back Derby and Sheffield Wednesday to get the sixth spot, as the rest of the teams are now seemingly out of reach, Huddersfield in fifth place are currently 16 points above Villa.
Despite a winless January seriously damaging Villa’s play-off credentials, there was a flicker of hope.
Now though, the striker Villa were hoping would fire them onto the kind of run that would give them a chance of reaching the playoffs, now plays for a team they were hoping to catch. The impact of this has already been felt.
In his first game for Wednesday, Rhodes provided the assist for the winner away at Wigan to put the Owls 13 points above Villa.
Part of the Rhodes deal to Villa not coming off may have been down to the striker’s reluctance to spend too long in the Championship, thus seeing the reality of Villa remaining in the division next season. Certainly he was buoyant about the chance of returning Wednesday back to the top tier.
“I’m hopefully coming here to help and get the collective aim which is to get the club out of the league,” said Rhodes, after signing.
“If this club can get to the Premier League, where I think it belongs, it will be fantastic for the area.”
It’s interesting to see how transfers can impact more than one club and here, where Rhodes is concerned, the reality is it’s pretty much put the final nail in Villa’s remaining dreams of a play-off spot this season.
We can only hope that the man Villa turned to as an alternative, can fire the club into the automatic promotion spots next season.
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