Transfer Rumor Roundup: Star defenders to Chelsea; Rodriguez to West Brom
According to multiple reports, Jay Rodriguez is said to be interesting West Bromwich Albion with Southampton asking for a fee of $19 million.
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Rodriguez, 27, started just nine times in the Premier League last season for Saints and even with Claude Puel fired last week, the Englishman looks set to move on from St Mary’s. West Brom desperately need a fresh approach up top as striker Salomon Rondon scored just once in his last 23 appearances for the Baggies last season.
The only worry about this deal for West Brom is Rodriguez’s fitness. Over the past three years he has struggled mightily with multiple issues after rupturing his ACL in April 2014.
It is worth remembering that prior to that injury Rodriguez had broken into the England squad and had scored 15 goals in a Premier League season for Saints. The talent is in there, as we saw during flashes last season when he scored six goals (including a stunner at Bournemouth) but playing consistently is a must for Rodriguez if he’s ever going to regain the form which saw him take the PL by storm from a wide position in 2013-14. Saints haven’t been able to offer him that, but maybe West Brom can.
Chelsea are said to be pushing for a move for Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus.
The 30-year-old defender has excelled for the Italian giants and the Italian national team and was chased by both Chelsea and Manchester City last summer before signing a new deal at Juve. However, the London Evening Standard believe that Antonio Conte is making his former center back a main summer target (with Kurt Zouma allowed to leave on loan) but Bonucci will not come cheap.
Despite being the wrong side of 30 it is thought Juve want over $60 million for the silky central defender. Bonucci would fit into Chelsea’s three-man defense superbly and his arrival would spark an intriguing battle between himself and David Luiz for the central role in defense.
Per the report, Chelsea are also interested in bringing Virgil van Dijk to Stamford Bridge. Southampton’s captain, 25, was at the center of a very public spat between Saints and Liverpool earlier this month as the latter were forced to apologize amid reports of VVD being flown up north to meet with manager Jurgen Klopp.
Although a move to Liverpool seems incredibly unlikely for Van Dijk, plus Southampton’s continued stance that he’s not for sale, it will be intriguing to see if an offer of $70 million comes in from Chelsea for the Dutch international. There’s no doubting Chelsea have plenty of weapons going forward, but the reigning champs certainly need extra stability in defense. Both Bonucci and Van Dijk provide that, plus ooze class when they’re on the ball.