Wigan Athletic currently sit rock bottom of the Barclays Premier League, and looked doomed to Championship football next season, however, if they are to stand any chance of survival they must increase supply to their diamond in the rough, Hugo Rodallega.
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The Colombian striker has shown glimpses of genius in his two and a half seasons in English football, but has struggled to produce the form and goals he is capable of this season as The Latics have lacked creativity and the necessary enterprise to conjure up chances for him. The striker cuts a forlorn figure and is clearly frustrated at the limited and poor service he has to endure; it is obvious that the powerful hitman has outgrown his struggling Wigan team.
Rodallega has scored seven league goals this season, not an especially impressive return but the men who are supposed to create chances for him must harbour a lot of the blame for this, and Wigan’s dire predicament. Charles N’Zogbia sporadically can offer quality supply to manufacture chances for Rodallega, whilst young midfield dynamo James McCarthy has grown in stature with every game he gets. Unfortunately for Rodallega and Wigan fans, apart from this the Colombian would-be goalscorer does not have the quality around him to contribute considerable quality service to create chances.
Roberto Martinez has instilled a footballing mentality into his Wigan team, and has implored his side to get the ball down and pass it; the problem is that Martinez just does not have the personnel to successfully execute this gameplan, and Rodallega suffers due to this. The sale of Antonio Valencia to Manchester United for £16 million may have made good financial sense for the club given the fact the signed him for less than £5 million, but it has left Rodallega bereft of service. Valencia’s pace and quality of delivery helped Wigan sustain and prosper in the Premier League; without him they lack incision.
Put Hugo Rodallega into the Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United team and he would be one of the league’s leading scorers. The Colombian is your stereotypical centre forward; big, powerful, strong and fast, good in the air and he has an eye for goal. The South American is certainly still learning his trade but he has the potential to be an excellent player and has all the raw assets to cause Premier League defenders headaches on a weekly basis.
So what of Hugo Rodallega’s future? Wigan, in all honesty look doomed, and if a host of Premier League clubs aren’t keeping tabs on the striker, they should be. Newcastle have an Andy Carroll shaped hole in their attack, and could do worse than offer Wigan £10 million for Rodallega. Sunderland need a partner for Asamoah Gyan and Rodallega is of the Darren Bent mould, and would be an excellent addition at the Stadium of Light. Teams like Everton and West Ham, provided they stay up, would be lucky to have the Colombian heading their frontline come the start of the 2011/12 season. The striker wouldn’t look out of place in a top six side’s squad either and if they are clever, the bigger teams could grab a potential 20 goal a season striker at a budget price.
Wigan look likely to be playing Championship football next season but Hugo Rodallega won’t be, as The Latics demotion should trigger interest in the Colombian from other Premier League clubs and teams abroad. If Roberto Martinez had more creativity in his team Rodallega may well have contributed the goals to fire them out of danger, but Wigan’s relegation will benefit the striker as he will thrive from improved service at his new club next season.
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