The word on the street is that Colombian forward and free agent Hugo Rodallega is looking to pitch his tent at Goodison Park next season. This post will take a quick look at the pros and cons associated with any potential deal….
Rodallega’s key assets are his pace, composure & ability to play on the shoulder of defenders to engineer goal scoring opportunities on his preferred right foot.
As is a requisite of any efc signing, Rodallega can ‘do a job’ in more than one position. He can play the lone centre forward and can also play down either of the wide striking alleys; either cutting in on his right from the left flank or breaking down the right flank to get a shot in on his right peg. He is a cool customer 1 v 1 and would give us a decent option from the bench when additional pace is required in matches, especially away from L4. Here is Rodallega’s 3 year form….
The data above shows over 3 seasons he averages 36% for aerials won which is higher than jelavic , straq and anichebe last season and comparable with cahill (37%) so he is capable of leading the line. He would provide us with more flexibility in terms of formation which is crucial. Moyes usually adopts 4-4-1-1 / 4-2-3-1 but last term experimented with 4-3-2-1 with the 2 wide players in the closest support to the forward. At Newcastle in particular, this strategy was deployed to soak up pressure and then break at pace through Drenthe/Coleman on the flanks. In (potentially) Pienaar and Rodallega he would have two players who would probably be able to deliver this strategy more effectively. The below diagram shows how it could work;
As the stats show, he is vulnerable to being caught offside. In 2010/11 he was sprung the 11th most in the top flight. Also, his goalscoring exploits at the JJB cooled somewhat last season although in fairness his game time was restricted and when deployed was often used in a wide berth. Di Santo was Martinez’s preferred option possibly because he is a more authentic target man with his stats for doing the dirty work eg winning fouls, tackles etc much better than Rodallega’s last season. This leads nicely into my gravest doubt about Rodallega - his attitude. All great strikers show a level of selfishness to get goals but the Colombian’s terrible attitude when Wigan scored the winning goal against Bolton in a crucial relegation six pointer towards the end of last season would concern me. Was his petulance and refusal to celebrate just because he didn’t score the goal the attitude of a team player? Does it risk upsetting the apple-cart of what we are regularly told is one of the tightest knit squads in the top flight? Or maybe I’m just reading too much into this.
Again, this move would represent a fairly low risk purchase by the club given that there is no transfer fee and the wage element will potentially be covered by Anichebe’s switch in the opposite direction. Given that he has averaged 7 goals per season in a dire side you would imagine that with the craft of players such as Gibson and Pienaar that he would be able to at least match this figure. In conclusion Rodallega’s versatility, pace and eye for a goal could be invaluable over the course of the season and it would appear a punt worth taking if we can keep his attitude and workrate in check.