Huddersfield Town have decisions to make in the summer and high on the agenda will be addressing the club’s troubles in the striking department when the transfer window opens.
It’s no secret that Huddersfield were keen to sign a striker back in the January transfer window. There was a Deadline Day full of speculation and since then Yaya Sanogo has been signed, with Oumar Niasse also heavily linked to the club.
There are still 11 games to play in the Championship this season and a lot is on the line for Carlos Corberan’s struggling side. However, speculation has already begun and Huddersfield’s search for reinforcements in the striking department is central to that.
Sources have told Football League World that there is interest in signing Jordan Rhodes again, with the striker’s contract at Hillsborough running down into the summer and a Sheffield Wednesday exit is likely.
Rhodes is no stranger to life in West Yorkshire, of course. Earlier in his career, he scored 87 goals in 148 appearances for Huddersfield, finding the back of the net with an astonishing strike rate. Similar traits followed him to Blackburn Rovers, but slowly at Middlesbrough, and now Sheffield Wednesday, the 31-year-old’s career has been on the decline.
That makes links to Rhodes heading into the summer transfer window that little bit concerning from a Huddersfield perspective. Yes, Rhodes was exceptional for them previously, but he wouldn’t be returning the same player.
The goals have dried up and, taking sentiment out of it, he doesn’t look like the right fit for Huddersfield Town under Carlos Corberan.
One man that does look the right fit, though, is Fraizer Campbell, who continues to lead the line impressively for Huddersfield, even if the goals aren’t always there.
It would be unfair to say that Campbell hasn’t been amongst the goals this season. He’s scored seven times and assisted a further three, but the frustration with the 33-year-old is that it could be more and he could offer more threat in the penalty area.
Campbell’s impact on this side is more than just about goals, though. Corberan demands that he is the first line of defence; pressing and consistently giving centre-backs something to think about. He also has to link play and ensure that possession sticks to build into the final third.
Diving into Wyscout, Campbell stands head and shoulders above Rhodes this season. That’s in terms of goals (7 v 3), expected goals (8.28 v 2.35), touches in the penalty area per 90 (2.68 v 2.2) and even defensive duels won (126 v 28). Importantly, Campbell has 2,789 minutes under his belt, whist Rhodes has just 941.
That’s a significant difference and even more so when you consider that Campbell is accustom to Corberan’s demands. They have been notoriously hard to adapt to, with a series of Campbell’s teammates falling foul to injury and not exactly thriving in an intense environment.
Campbell has admitted recently that he feels as fit as he has for ‘six or seven years’. That’s a rarity for players at 33, but Corberan’s arrival and demands have clearly been good for him. That’s from a physical perspective, but also in terms of his performances, which have elevated from last season under Danny Cowley.
FC: “This year I feel fitter than I’ve felt for around six or seven years.
“I feel good and strong and I’m from Huddersfield.
“We’ve worked tirelessly this year to secure our status. We don’t want to fail.”#htafc
— Huddersfield Town (@htafc) March 11, 2021
Huddersfield have a decision to make on Campbell’s future in the summer too. The striker is out of contract, but the club do hold a year’s option on his current terms and could extend with zero fuss.
He and Sanogo will come into the equation when Huddersfield weigh up where they want to take their striking options in the summer. The latter has so much still to prove to Huddersfield if he’s to get a chance beyond the end of this season, but in the case of Campbell, he’s doing enough to warrant an extension.
The question will then remain who comes in and that brings us back to Rhodes. He is similar to Campbell in that he’s into his 30s, but their form this season makes very different reading. The Huddersfield striker is thriving under Corberan and has a spring in his step, but the spring that was in Rhodes’ step when he departed Huddersfield all that time ago has lost its bounce.
Is there really any need for two strikers on the wrong side of 30 competing for the striking berth? Surely a player that’s younger and motivated to reach the top would be better for Huddersfield. That kind of hunger can take a side a long way; you’ve only got to look at Karlan Grant last season.
Huddersfield found out in January how hard it can be to get hold of the right personnel and the summer will throw up similar hurdles.
One decision should be easy, though.
That comes in the form of Fraizer Campbell, who on the evidence of 2020/21, is the safer bet than a certain Jordan Rhodes.