Sheffield United have been linked with a move for Swansea City defender Joe Rodon today.
The Welsh defender has been one of the stand out players for the Swans this term. Manager Steve Cooper has selected him for every game, while Wales boss Ryan Giggs is a big fan too.
The 22-year-old is set to miss a period through injury in the coming weeks. An ankle injury means Rodon will miss up to two months, with surgery needed to repair the damage.
However, according to the Sun on Sunday – as covered by us earlier – Rodon is high on the list of potential January signings at Bramall Lane. Manager Chris Wilder has led his team to seventh place in the Premier League this term. A point at West Ham this weekend ensured they remained unbeaten away from home.
With such a settled side, it’s hard to really find a weakness in the first XI for United. So just who is Swansea City defender Rodon and why might the Blades want him?
United have become renowned for their inventive overlapping centre-back system. Key to that is right sided defender, Chris Basham.
However, Basham is 31 now and despite his consistency could be someone Wilder looks to replace. This is not to say Basham is going to lose his place with immediate effect. It’s more a case of natural evolution and squad improvement.
At 22, Joe Rodon is nearly a decade younger than the Blades star. He’s comfortable at right back but operates more as a central defender. On the most simple level, this suggests he could slot into the attacking centre-back role quite nicely.
What the stats say
It’s hard to draw a full picture from stats at times. They can tell us a great deal when delved into but can also be misleading.
However, in basic terms, Rodon seems to have all the attributes a top defender needs. An average of 5.1 clearances per game last season might indicate a poor Swans defence, but it also shows his ability to keep the ball out of danger. A quick comparison with Basham shows the United man down at 3.8 per game in this category.
Key to playing Wilder’s system is being good on the ball. It’s here where the stats suggest Rodon is more than comfortable.
A quick glance at some of the above and at Rodon’s performances suggest he is ideal for the Blades.
The big question will be around the potential fee. £20m is the figure being banded about in the press today, a fee which would equal United’s club record signing of Oli McBurnie.
Chris Wilder has enough on his plate trying to settle his team in the Premier League. However, the time will come when some of his loyal players will find themselves moved on or pushed out.
Basham has done nothing wrong and continues to play really well. Rodon, on the other hand continues to impress. It might well be that a summer move is more realistic here, as long as United stay up.