Rodriguez set for Southampton talks
CLARETS striker Jay Rodriguez is set to travel to Southampton next week to discuss what would be a club record £7m move to the Premier League newcomers.
The Saints had the offer accepted earlier this week, and on his return from holiday he will go down to the south coast to talk personal terms, and decide whether he wants to complete the switch.
However, there could yet be an added complication.
The 21-goal front man has attracted interest from numerous Premier League clubs, including Everton, Newcastle, Fulham, Reading and West Ham - and also Norwich.
Canaries boss Paul Lambert is a keen admirer of the England Under 21 cap, and should the one-time Burnley target end up as the new Aston Villa chief, it is thought he may make a move to take Rodriguez to Villa Park.
In any case, Eddie Howe is already steeling himself for the departure of his prize asset, and is eyeing a reunion with 24-year-old Bristol City striker Brett Pitman.
Pitman played under Howe at Bournemouth, scoring 30 of his 62 goals for the club, including 28 in 2009/10 to earn an £800,000 move to Ashton Gate.
There he was top-scorer in his first season with 13 goals in 21 games, and he has added a further seven this term - although he has not started as many games as he would have liked.
The Jersey-born frontman, who is out of contract next summer, was a target for Blackpool in their Premier League campaign, and a fee was agreed with Bournemouth, but he opted for the Robins.
Bristol City are believed to want around half what they paid for Pitman.
It remains to be seen how much of the £7m Rodriguez fee Howe will actually see to bolster his squad, however,
The club revealed a £4m loss for the last financial year, and this year that figure will take into account the parachute payments from the season in the Premier League season being cut from £14.5m to £8m.
The onset of the UEFA Financial Fairplay regulations this season, which aim for clubs to at least break even or face punishment, will also be a consideration, and it is likely that a chunk of the Rodriguez money would be used to plug a gap in the accounts, although Howe does have some funds in place to add to his squad.
One player that looks unlikely to come to the club is former midfielder Richard Chaplow, who was linked as a makeweight in the Rodriguez deal.
But I believe the 27-year-old, who left Turf Moor for West Brom for £1.5m in January 2005, is not a target for Howe, and is settled at Southampton, where he has a home in Winchester.
Chaplow, on his twitter page, poured cold water on the story: “I am still a Saints player and it’s somewhere I want to stay for a long time!”