Rodrigo was signed last summer and is the club’s record signing, however, after just 14 Premier League starts last season and seven goals, it was an underwhelming campaign in which he failed to dislodge Patrick Bamford as the main man up front.
Last season, Rodrigo was deployed as a second striker, centre-forward and attacking midfielder (via Transfermarkt) – so with the Spaniard being signed from Valencia as a striker, being thrown into midfield may not have been what he was expecting following his big-money move.
Hay offered his thoughts on Rodrigo’s situation.
“I go back to what we said about him at Valencia, he was considered to be a very versatile player, but actually, if you looked properly at where he played – and our stats guy, Tom Worville, did some really good analysis of this – he was a nine more often than not, and he could be quite a mobile nine, he could drift out wide, he could do quite a bit of what Bamford does, but he was essentially a centre-forward.
“I think that’s how he saw himself, a striker and a goalscorer. So whether that’s going to work is becoming increasingly difficult to tell, and at the moment, it doesn’t really feel again like it is clicking.”
TIF Thoughts on Rodrigo…
The Spanish striker arrived with a good reputation and some solid stats behind him having registered 100 goal involvements in 220 games for Valencia, but given Bamford’s scintillating form in front of goal last season for Leeds, there was really no way he would move the former Chelsea man out of the main striker role.
Rodrigo was also hindered by injury and fitness problems last campaign, which saw him miss nine games and spend a total of 52 days on the sidelines (as per Transfermarkt), so if he can keep himself fit for the entire campaign, he may be able to put Bamford under more pressure. Otherwise, he could prove to be a poor signing by Leeds if he is going to be played out of position.