Date: 29th January 2012 at 9:07am
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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the sharks start to circle again for the signature of Jay Rodriguez.

There are now just four days to go until the January transfer window closes at 11pm on the night of Tuesday 31st January.

For most of this month it was all quiet on the western front, until last week when it was reported that Newcastle had made tentative enquiries regarding the striker.

Some rumours suggested it was more than a tentative approach and that a bid of £8 million may well have been made.

Local papers though stated that Burnley had knocked-back the North East club, with Magpies manager, Alan Pardew reportedly happy to now focus on higher priorities with a view to making a bid for the striker in the summer.

There was though a worrying suggestion that Newcastle would enter the fray again should other clubs come in for him before the January window closed.

Clarets fans will not be happy to hear this morning therefore that further Premier League clubs have indeed apparantly now entered the race to sign the 22 year old.

Media speculation in the Daily Star suggests that Newcastle’s North East rivals, Sunderland are also eyeing the striker.

The Black Cats are in the market for a striker having also been linked with Bolton`s more experienced Kevin Davies. Martin O’Neill however is thought to believe Rodriguez is the more exciting prospect. Talking of Bolton, the paper also suggests Owen Coyle is closely watching his former striker along with Everton.

It looks like Clarets fans hoping for a quiet ride over Rodriguez will now face an anxious few days before the window closes on Tuesday night.

Personally I think it would be a disaster to lose Rodriguez at this stage with the club still having a strong chance of promotion this season. We know though that Burnley, in debt with all the Premier League money it seems frittered away, will bite off the hand of any club coming in with a decent offer.

What though is a decent offer? The Daily Star suggests that Barry Kilby has slapped a £5 million valuation on the locally born striker. In the summer though it was reported that a £5 million bid from Southampton had been turned down so how do you put a figure on the head of such a talented prospect with still 17 months of his contract remaining?

We must surely hold out for at least £8-10 million. The Black Cats forked out £8 million for Ipswich hotshot, Connor Wickham so surely Jay Rodriguez is also in the same bracket? It is not just the money though but the timing of the loss. If he left the club with so few days of the transfer window remaining, would we have time to find a replacement of the same quality? Have we been clever and been looking at contingencies anyway? You would have to hope so just in case.

With Sam Vokes back at Wolves and reportedly watching Brighton in the FA Cup on Saturday, that’s one loan option that no longer looks a possibility. Yes we have Josh McQuoid now on loan from Millwall but the striker-cum-winger seems to be covering for our two injured players Martin Paterson and Junior Stanislas at the moment.

Until Pato returns hopefully in a couple of weeks our striking options could be limited if we also lose Rodriguez. Charlie Austin would be carrying most of the weight on his shoulders. Danny Ings is not being fast tracked into the first team, so that would leave two strikers who have not exactly set the world alight this season, Zavon Hines and Alex MacDonald. The former has been dropping down the pecking order and the latter is reportedly going out on loan to Rochdale to join his team mate, Kevin Long.

Yes, we could probably muddle along but we run the risk of dropping points if our strikeforce is weakened. Let’s just hope we can hold on to Jay Rod until all hell breaks loose again in the summer.

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