Date: 6th May 2012 at 3:55pm
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What would the chances be of Jay Rodriguez signing a new contract and remaining a Claret next season? Pretty remote if you believe all the media gossip and most Clarets fans are now resigned to losing ‘one of our own` in the summer. The biggest debate now amongst Clarets fans seems to be how much we should let him go for and which Premier League club he might best be suited to joining with a view to his career development.

Let us first play catch-up and look at the clubs reportedly interested in our prize asset and our top goalscorer last season.

First of all let`s start with Fulham! Fulham manager, Martin Jol has already it is reported seen a £5million offer turned down by Burnley. It would appear Burnley are holding out for at least £8 million for the 22 year old England under 21 striker who still has one year of his contract to go.

Jol though is believed to have put Rodriguez at the top of his wish list and is gearing up to make a fresh bid according to the Lancashire Telegraph. He probably won`t match the £8 million but it is known he faces losing both Andrew Johnson and Pavel Pogrebnyak in the summer with both strikers out of contract. He could well up the ante though putting significant pressure on the rivals for Rodriguez`s signature.

Of course, it is now a balancing act with the Clarets keen to maximise a transfer fee knowing that JayRod could be subject to a tribunal in 12 months time. The Premier League clubs also know that and could use it as a bargaining tool to drive the price down should the powers that be decide a fee in favour of the Premier League club.

We know Southampton made a cheeky bid of around £5-£6 million for Rodriguez in the January window but were knocked back. They are also reported to be coming in for him again and of course now have the advantage of being a Premier League club after being promoted last season. Clarets fans probably think a club like Southampton or indeed Fulham could be just the right sort of club for our locally-born talent. If he wished to develop in the Premier League then it would be better if he joined one likely to play him rather than a bigger club more inclined to use him as a squad player with no regular place in the starting eleven.

Another Premier League club believed to have Rodriguez on their radar is Norwich City but whether Paul Lambert can compete with bids in the order of £8 million remains to be seen.

Other clubs linked with the player include Newcastle, Everton, Bolton (if they survive their relegation battle!) and newly promoted Reading with Scottish Premier League champions Celtic also said to be in the hunt.

Championship play-off semi-finalists Cardiff City have also indicated an interest but after losing 2-0 at home to West Ham in the first-leg of the play-offs semi, their hopes of promotion look to have taken a battering.

What does Jay think himself about all the speculation? It is widely thought Rodriguez is happy to stay at the club but the pressure for him to leave and give the club a financial boost could be too great for him to remain a Burnley player next season.

“I`ve had another enjoyable year with Burnley. It`s a pleasure to play at Burnley, said the in-demand striker

“I`m still a Burnley player, I`m still contracted, and that`s what I look forward to. Next season I`m looking forward to working hard and getting myself fit and see what happens. I don`t listen to any speculation, you hear it but that`s about it. It`s really nice. It builds your confidence, especially with the teams surrounding the speculation. But for me I`ll just keep myself to myself and continue working on my own game. As from now I`ll just be working hard.”

A couple of former Burnley strikers have also been unable to resist commenting on Jay Rodriquez`s potential future in the top flight. One was Ade Akinbiyi who was regarded as Jay Rod`s mentor whilst at the club.

Akinbiyi admitted that the 22-year-old was unlikely to stay with the Clarets.

‘It doesn’t look like Burnley will be able to keep hold of him,’ Akinbiyi said.

A lot of clubs are interested and you can understand why. Jay is a decent player and can play at the top level.

‘He has a year left to go on his contract but I’m sure they will look at all the different offers and see where it goes from then.’

Steven Thompson, now at St Mirren also spoke about JayRod`s future:

“The problem for Burnley is that I can`t see him being there for much longer. That`s the quality he has,” said Thommo

“I would have thought Burnley need to sell him this summer if they want to get maximum money for him, and you are looking at well over £5m.

“I know he loves Burnley and the club has brought him through, but I would like to see him move on for his own progression because I think he deserves to be playing in the Premier League.

“The fans will say I shouldn`t say that because we want to keep him, but you`ve got to do sometimes what`s best for a player, and that`s to develop.

“Working first hand with him you got to see how he had the whole package. He was just beginning to piece it together when I left,

“He`s got everything. Normally you see a player with his technical ability but not the pace. Jay has every box ticked – his touch, his aerial ability, his pace, his desire and hunger.

“He hasn`t got any swagger, he`s not arrogant, he hasn`t got a chip on his shoulder. He`s just a lovely young lad, and it`s nice to see someone like that do well.

“Who knows what level he could reach in his career.

“He`s been a great servant to the club and it`s right that Burnley should get money for him. I`m sure Eddie Howe would love to keep him, but it might be the right time for him to move.”

Well there you have it all the latest news, gossip and thoughts in relation to the JayRod Merry Go (or Don`t Go)Round!

What do you think about all this speculation? Do you, like me want it over and done with quickly? I am not sure I want a summer of this. If JayRod is to go, let`s get the business done with as quickly as possible but let`s not sell ourselves short though. A bidding war amongst the Premier League sharks can only benefit the club in the long term but it would be nice to do a deal in time to use the money for rebuilding in the summer ahead of the new season. Tell us what you think by commenting below this article.

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