Premier League

Hot Rod-rigues Can Light Up Premier League

 • by Andrew Gibney
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Premier League clubs made something of a rod for their own backs when they voted to have the summer transfer window shut before the season gets underway.

While on the one hand it will ensure clubs don’t panic buy after a slow start to the new campaign, it has meant managers and recruitment staff have had to begin their summer planning far earlier than ever before.

Add in the complication of the World Cup, which kicks off in June, and it’s little wonder several sides are lining up a host of targets despite not yet knowing whether or not they’ll remain in the Premier League come the end of the 2017/18 season.

Two of those sides whose top flight futures are far from guaranteed are Newcastle United and West Ham United. Yet the pair have both been linked this week with a move for Galatasaray winger Garry Rodrigues.

The Magpies interest is long-standing, they reportedly tabled a £7million bid in January. The Hammers, however, have arrived late on the scene and could launch a move when the transfer window opens in May.

“Yes there has been offers from the Premier League but we are going to wait until the end of the season before making any decisions,” Rodrigues agent Ceylan Caliskan told Turkish Football this week.

“Rodrigues’ primary goal is to lift the Super Lig title, to become a champion.”

Everton and Stoke City have been linked with a move for the Cape Verde attacker in the past too. So why all the interest? We have run the rule over the 27-year-old to find out.

Who is Garry Rodrigues?

Born in Rotterdam, Rodrigues started in Feyenoord’s youth system. But it wasn’t until he played for local club Boshuizen that he got picked up by a professional club with ADO Den Haag taking the plunge. He never made a first-team appearance for The Hague and was loaned out to Dordrecht, eventually moving to Levski Sofia.

His path to Galatasaray has not been typical, playing in Spain and for Greek side PAOK before the Turkish club paid €3.7million for him in January 2017.

Even last season his numbers weren’t eye-catching. But under Gala’s last two managers, Igor Tudor and Fatih Terim, he has exploded into life. It’s helped that he’s played double the amount of minutes he managed last season, giving him time to grow into the role and show his full skillset.

Rodrigues is an explosive winger, able to play on either side of the attack. Although he can cross with his left-foot, he is stronger on his right.

The 27-year-old is lightning quick; very rarely do you see a defender able to keep up with him and it makes him a constant menace.

Key stats

Garry Rodrigues player card

What are Rodrigues’ strengths?

As is so often the case with wide players, Rodrigues loves to come inside from his favoured flank. He has the ability to fire off shots, but he’s more likely to get his head up and pass.

A live-wire with the ball at his feet, he’ll look to stand up defenders, almost challenging them to a foot race. He rarely loses. The Cape Verde international has the sort of pace which terrifies defenders and makes him deadly on the counter.

Garry Rodrigues Galatasaray

In the clip above, taken from Galatasaray’s clash against Antalyaspor, he demonstrates his ability to evade the full-back, moving through the gears and slaloming past defenders before picking out Bafetimbi Gomis to score.

Rodrigues is unpredictable, however. He doesn’t cut inside every time, instead showing pace to get to the byline and attempting crosses with his weaker foot.

Garry Rodrigues Galatasaray

On the break he knows how to use his pace to cause maximum damage. In the clip above he could easily sprint through the middle. Instead, he waits for the defender to cover inside then drifts left to create space for the pass.

Next he moves the ball onto his right foot and shapes to shoot before slipping another neat pass into Gomis.

This time the former Swansea City striker misses a great chance but it does not detract from the good work by Rodrigues, who has nine assists this term.

What are Rodrigues’ weaknesses?

There is no doubt he is a willing runner who will also chase back to help defend too. But sometimes, due to his eagerness and speed, he goes too far, either mis-timing a tackle or bundling an opponent off the ball for a foul.

Rodrigues is a late bloomer, but you can see from the upturn in numbers this term he is still willing to learn.

You would want his dribbling numbers to increase, but not at the expensive of his completion percentage.

Should Premier League clubs be interested?

In a word, yes. Having pace in a team, especially as much Rodrigues possesses, can transform an attack.

However, it will all come down to the price. According to several reports Galatasaray will be demanding a fee of around £15m. Yet others state £25m.

If it’s the former Premier League clubs won’t be put off. If it’s the latter then West Ham and Everton may remain interested. Stoke City and Newcastle, unless they are sold, wouldn’t pursue a deal.

Midfielders and centre-forwards can initially struggle when they come to England – just look at Everton’s Cenk Tosun’s slow start – mostly due to the pace and intensity of the game.

Rodrigues should have no issue in that regard. If anything, he will make the game even faster.

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