Southampton legend Iain Dowie has urged the club not to sell Jay Rodriguez, following recent speculation linking the 25-year-old with a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
Originally arriving from Burnley in June 2012, Rodriguez enjoyed a stellar 2013-14 campaign at Southampton, scoring 15 goals in 33 Premier League games, while also earning his first England cap in November.
Missing out on the World Cup squad due to a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, the former £7 million man has been tipped to become part of the Saints’ summer exodus under new boss Ronald Koeman, but Dowie believes the club would be foolish to let go of such a promising striker.
"I do think he’s an outstanding talent, Rodriguez. I watched him a lot at Burnley, where he did really well, and he’s done fantastically for Southampton," Dowie told Sky Sports News.
"To lose him would be a huge blow. Where do you go to replace a young centre-forward like that? We’ve seen what they go for in the modern market, and I think Rodriguez has the potential to become a very, very good player.
"We’re yet to see whether he’s got that international pedigree but, at the moment, he looks like he could well be a future England regular, and it’s very difficult to sign those, for sure."
With Calum Chambers’ recent £16 million departure to Arsenal, Southampton have now seen five first-teamers leave the club this summer, with Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren all leaving for Liverpool for a combined £48 million, and fellow teenager Luke Shaw moving to Manchester United for around £30 million.
Both Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin have also been rumoured to be linking up with former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs, in potential deals which would see the club’s transfer income soar above the £100 million mark, although chairman Ralph Krueger has moved to quash those claims.
Whatever the case, the fact that the sole additions to the depleted squad so far have been Serbian winger Dusan Tardic and Italian strker Graziano Pelle means Koeman has a lot of work left on his hands before the start of the season, where his lineup will look a fair amount different to that which took the club to an eight-place finish in 2013-14.