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How would Nigel Adkins use potential signing Jay Rodriguez?
Saints may see Jay Rodriguez as a long term replacement for Rickie Lambert.
The club are prepared to smash their transfer record to spend £7m on bringing the 22-year-old striker from Burnley, and therefore view him as a long term investment for the club.
... when, on the face of it, Saints appear to have plenty of strikers who have proved themselves in the Championship but have yet to grace the top flight.
However, Saints have a long term plan and part of that is to recruit hungry, young British players who are desperate to prove themselves.
From a financial sense, players such as Rodriguez are always likely to have a good resale value, commanding probably double their £7m initial investment if he is an instant hit and some bigger clubs take notice.
But he would still have a reasonable resale fee even if he doesn’t cut it because of his age and his record in the second tier at Burnley.
In that way it makes some sense financially, even if some argue that a 30-year-old who commands £7m in wages over a few years but who you know can score goals in the Premier League might be a better investment, given Saints’ squad.
But Saints must have an eye on eventually replacing Lambert and, in Rodriguez, they have are hoping to sign a player who could one day take over their talisman’s mantle.
That is not to say the pair can’t, and won’t, be able to play together, they very much will.
And the fact they both have a strong physical presence offers Saints the chance to play direct and, more importantly, get crosses into the box.
In the Premier League they are unlikely to out-pass lots of sides as they could in the Championship and League One, so it’s as good a tactic as any.
As fantastic as Lambert has been, and hopefully will continue to be for at least another few years, he is now 30 and no player goes on forever.
Saints have to be mindful of that and, in signing a 6ft 1in target man type who can also score plenty of goals, they are surely buying themselves a future line leader.
They are also buying the kind of insurance that they were remiss not to get last summer.
Lambert has a remarkable fitnes and disciplinary record, and it’s just as well for Saints as they rely so heavily on his presence.
He is the talisman for the team, not only because of his goals but because he is vital for the way they play.
Without him, they have lacked ideas.
They could not afford to go another season relying on Lambert being fit.
In Rodriguez, they could finally have someone who can slot straight into that mould, meaning that if the main man is out they don’t need to consider changing formation, style and personnel just for that reason.
As to where it leaves some of Saints’ other strikers, is an interesting question.
Will Adkins be aiming to start Lambert and Rodriguez, two fairly similar types of striker, together?
Or will he want to use one of them alongside Billy Sharp or Tadanari Lee?
If Saints do complete the Rodriguez signing, they are suddenly blessed with six first team strikers in the shape of the new man, Lambert, Sharp, Lee, Guly do Prado and Lee Barnard.
And that’s before you take into account forgotten man Jonathan Forte, who was signed as first team striker, and youngster Sam Hoskins, who is trying to break through.
That is surely too many, given the 25-man squad rules.
Hoskins would be exempt but to think that seven of the 25 will be strikers is surely too top heavy.
So will we see some depart?
Surely not Sharp and Lee who have just joined, or, obviously, Lambert or Rodriguez.
Do Prado is not likely to go as he also challenges for a place on the right of midfield with the striking department filling up.
That leaves Forte and Barnard, two bit-part players in 2011/12, as the most vulnerable.
It will be fascinating to see if Saints try and cash in or loan them out.
One thing is for sure and that’s that in the Premier League you need goals to survive.
Saints are making sure they are not short on numbers in the striking department.