“We’re going to have a really good team spirit this year and it’s something I want to be a part of. For as long as I’m welcome, you’re stuck with me.”
Those were the words of Blackburn Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes last week, following speculation linking him with a move to Bolton Wanderers.
And yet the rumours persist, not only of switches to Championship rivals but more notably with Premier League sides.
After Hull City were linked with the Scotland international back in May, Swansea City are now said to have made an enquiry about the player.
No fee has been reported – although it is likely to be considerably more than the £8million Rovers paid Huddersfield Town last summer. But if the player’s quotes are to be believed, along with manager Gary Bowyer’s assertion that the 23-year-old is going nowhere, then why bother writing about it?
Well the simple fact is that Rhodes is a goal-scorer, a natural, unwavering talent for which clubs are prepared to pay big money.
With every step up, cynics have predicted the player’s downfall. And yet if anything he has got better.
I have a habit of upsetting Blackburn fans, and I know that any talk of them losing their crown jewel will prompt cries telling me to keep my mouth shut and my fingers firmly away from the keyboard.
And yet the Rovers hierarchy may have a decision to make if a substantial bid comes in for their star-man.
They could keep him; after all he seems intent on staying. But another season like the last and Rhodes’ enthusiasm for a prolonged Ewood Park stay may begin to waver.
Venky’s have made few good decisions in their time at the club. Selling Rhodes would be among the most foolhardy. And yet I know enough about their modus operandi to suggest anything is possible.
And as much as a player and his manager can stand firm in their belief, the owners may receive an offer too good to refuse.
As Swansea continue their impressive development both in squad and in ethos, Rhodes would be an outstanding addition.
So it is time for his current club to show there is a future worth sticking around for. Not selling the striker this summer is just the beginning. They must also keep him, and their fans, happy for the many years ahead.
If not, one day’s promise could be another day’s regret.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald