By Nic Barnes
Sheffield Wednesday pulled off the latest deadline day deal of the January transfer window, with the striker only being confirmed as an Owl six hours after the window had shut.
Rhodes, a Scottish international, has been brought in on loan from Middlesbrough until the end of the season.
Boro had only signed Jordan Rhodes in the January transfer window last year from Blackburn Rovers to aid their successful automatic promotion push. The Championship goal specialist brought a transfer fee just under £10m and was slightly underwhelming for the rest of the campaign, scoring six goals in 18 games.
After only six Premier League appearances this season, Sheffield Wednesday won the race to sign the 26-year-old out of a number of Championship clubs.
Rhodes started grabbing people’s attention back in 2011 after a standout season for Huddersfield Town saw him score 37 goals in 43 games in League One and helped fire the Terriers into the Championship.
After scoring in both Huddersfield’s opening games against promotion hopefuls Forest and Burnley, newly relegated Blackburn Rovers paid a club record transfer fee of £8m to bring the striker to Ewood Park.
Although it turned out to be a poor season for Blackburn, finishing 17th and going through five different managers throughout the campaign, Rhodes flourished in the Championship, finishing the season with 28 league goals, beating the likes of Chris Wood and Charlie Austin in the goal-scoring charts. Rhodes continued to score goals for a struggling Blackburn side, accumulating 46 goals in his next two seasons with Blackburn.
Rumours of a Premier League move never materialised but eventually during the 2015/16 January transfer window Rhodes got a move to promotion contenders Middlesbrough, with the Teesiders paying a reported £9m for his services. The Scottish international had to earn his place in Aitor Karanka’s side though, and was used sparingly in his first two games, coming off the bench late on in both. And 16 games and eight goals later Middlesbrough were promoted to the Premier League.
Middlesbrough spent £40m in the summer transfer window, bringing in attacking prowess in the likes of Alvaro Negredo and Gaston Ramirez, also signing Rudy Gestede and Patrick Bamford for cover. With only six Premier League games to his name by January, Sheffield Wednesday have loaned the striker until the end of the season.
Sheffield Wednesday find themselves on the cusp of the play-offs, in a battle with Norwich, Derby and Barnsley for a chance to move up to England’s top tier.
In Jordan Rhodes, Sheffield Wednesday have the top goal-scorer in any of the top four divisions since August 2012. His strike rate of 0.48 goals per Championship game could see him score up to eight more goals in the Owls’ remaining games.
For a player to have never established himself in England’s top flight, and still fetch the transfer fees that Rhodes has, says something about the goal-scoring quality he possesses and how highly he is rated in England. He is arguably the most sought-after striker outside the Premier League, and possessing such an asset in the team puts Sheffield Wednesday in pole position to reach the play-offs.