From Jay Rod to Jota – the latest speculation
It’s mid-June, it’s over four weeks since we last played, and the speculation is well under way regarding which players could be coming in and which players could be going out.
If I was to try to cover every bit of speculation it would probably need the re-opening of most of the recently closed down Lancashire libraries, but I’ll briefly look at what I consider to be the most likely.
As far as the outs are concerned, that can be dealt with fairly quickly with the mention of Michael Keane and George Boyd. Keane, is now reportedly not going to go back to Manchester United, fearing he won’t get enough games, so that leaves Everton as the most likely destination.
Boyd, who is out of contract, has been linked with a number of clubs as have Scott Arfield and Andre Gray, both of whom have just one year remaining on their current deals.
As for the ins, I’m going to take a look at six players who have received, shall we say, the more reliable of links over the next week and that can start with Celtic defender Jozo Šimunović (pictured) with this link appearing around four days ago.
It was, to be fair, one of those where a number of clubs are mentioned with the Daily Mail suggesting that Newcastle and Huddersfield, two of the promoted clubs, and Spartak Moscow are all interested in the Croatian under-21 international who has been with Celtic for two years after signing from Dynamo Zagreb.
He’s valued at £8 million with his agent claiming there is growing interest without their having been any offers. It sounds very much as if this is an agent pushing his player as much as anything else.
More intriguing are the continuing links with two Yorkshire based defenders, Marc Roberts at Barnsley and Hull’s Scotland international left back Andrew Robertson. These are two players we were linked with in January and it has continued with reliable sources claiming that we are still very much in for the pair of them.
The 26-year old Barnsley born Roberts went via a long route to play for his home town club. He played non-league football until two summers ago when Barnsley signed him from Halifax. He’s gone on to make 72 appearances in League One and the Championship for Barnsley and captained the side at Wembley twice in the 2015/16 season. He has one year remaining on his contract but that would certainly be no obstacle should we, or any other club, be keen to sign him.
On 31st January this year, the last day of the previous transfer window, we were all hoping for three possible signings. Two of them, Ashley Westwood and Robbie Brady, duly arrived but the third didn’t.
The one that fell through was Robertson with Hull confirming via Marco Silva during the morning that they were not prepared to let him go. Silva said: “Robertson is not leaving, he is our player, he is important for us and he is preparing to play tomorrow night.”
That was that. Robertson stayed and went on to make a further 16 Premier League appearances as Hull went down with Middlesbrough and Sunderland. That relegation has increased the speculation. Other clubs have been involved but there were suggestions last week that we were close to a deal. If I was to claim that this one could go through and it didn’t, I’d certainly have egg on my face. I do think it is the most likely of all the players we’ve been linked with.
The end of last week brought with it a sentimental link, that of Jay Rodriguez from Southampton. Just a couple of weeks ago it was Shane Long, who I still think could be the more likely, but the mere mention of Jay Rod certainly triggered a reaction.
There are other clubs keen on him. Newcastle, Stoke and West Brom have all been linked but things could have changed at Southampton with the dismissal of manager Claude Puel. It looked clear that Puel didn’t see Jay Rod in his long term plans so all could change once the new man is in place.
This morning, we’ve been linked with Tom Lawrence of Leicester. As some will recall, he’s already done Burnley a big favour; it was Lawrence who missed the big chance for Blackburn in the derby at Ewood in October 2015 when the score was still 0-0.
It’s another of those ‘Burnley and a host of other club’ links so I’m not sure we can read too much into it. Although he’s spent his career with two Premier League clubs, Manchester United and Leicester, most of his football has come on loan and he spent last season at Ipswich where he scored 11 goals in 36 appearances.
And finally, for now certainly, is last night’s report from West London that we are the favourites, ahead of Everton, Newcastle and West Ham, to sign Brentford’s Jota. It turned out to be their efforts to get traffic when all they were reporting were the current odds on Sky Bet.
I wouldn’t get too excited about that one then although he certainly had an outstanding second half to last season when he returned to Brentford after a year back in Spain on loan. The club have triggered an automatic one year extension to his contract but that is viewed by many as no more than being able to get a decent fee for him.
That’s it for now, but with the window to remain open for another 73 days, I’m sure there will be any number of names to add to that list before the window finally slams shut.Follow UpTheClarets:
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