Under the Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley regime, Newcastle have made it their business to buy top young talent. While much of their transfer activity has been conducted across the Channel, their scouts are still looking for youngsters a little closer to home. In this instance in particular, Huddersfield, and this is where ex-Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark could do his former club a bit of a favour.
Jordan Rhodes is one of the hottest striking talents in League One. The 21-year-old has been scoring goals for fun in the third tier of English football, closing in on 50 league goals in 100 appearances for the Terriers, as this season his 13 goals have helped Huddersfield to second in the table and in with a real chance of promotion to the Championship. Now in his third season for the Yorkshire club, it may just be the time for the Scottish international to step up a level.
Rhodes made his debut for Scotland earlier this month, and while he only got on the pitch for a handful of minutes, he’s sure to have a bright future ahead of him if he carries on progressing at the rate he currently is. Unsurprisingly this has seen him attract attention north of the border with Celtic reported to have registered an interest, so it might be wise for Newcastle to strike while the iron’s hot and get their man while his price is relatively small.
Other than being one of England’s biggest clubs, one thing that’s possibly in Newcastle’s advantage is the fact that an ex-Magpie is Rhodes’ current manager. Lee Clark is doing a pretty good job at Huddersfield, leading the Terriers to back-to-back playoff finishes, only missing out on promotion by losing in the final to Peterborough. If there was one man who could ‘sell’ Newcastle to it is Clark, but he doesn’t seem too keen to let Rhodes go the north-east.
Understandably Clark is desperate to hang on to his star striker, telling the Daily Record that in regards to interest in his player; “It’s inevitable, but there’s absolutely nothing in it — £2m wouldn’t even buy his socks.” That’s some pretty expensive socks, but I reckon a fee in that sort of region would seal a move for Rhodes, and you never know, the two could even link up further down the line with Clark a potential future Magpies manager.
One thing though, shouldn’t Newcastle be aiming higher than a League One striker, even as a prospect for the future? The answer, I’m afraid, has to be yes.