The problem for Wigan manager Steve Bruce is that his current first-choice strikeforce of Emile Heskey and Amr Zaki are both likely to playing for different clubs at the start of next season. While Heskey will be available for free on a Bosman, Zaki’s one-year loan from El Zamalek will terminate this summer and it is highly doubtful that the Latics can afford to hold onto either of their prized frontmen past the end of the season.
Looking to head-off a striking headache before the summer comes around, Bruce’s attention has turned to 23-year-old Nexaca striker Hugo Rodallega who is reported to move to the JJB for Â£4.5m as soon as a work permit can be obtained.
Rodallega, a Colombian international, has to-date remained in his comfort zone of South and Central America where he has proven himself to a be reliable striker bagging 77 goals in 157 club games, whilst netting 6 times in 21 international appearances.
Pessimistically though, South American strikers bought in the winter transfer windows have not always lived up to their promise. Just 12 months ago a similar set of events saw Derby County throw away Â£2m on the highly-rated talent of Emanuel Villa – another forward offering a fine striking record in South and Central America. But since arriving in Blightly Villa has struggled to settle in at the Rams, hitting his driest goal-scoring spell so far in his career of just 8 goals in 41 appearances
Wigan will be confident however that their scouting network have unearthed yet another unknown gem. Having one of the most multi-cultural squads in the Premier League, with players from Honduras, Ecuador, Barbados, Senegal and Ghana, Steve Bruce has already gelled together a melting pot of world talent, and hopes will be high that Rodallega can prove himself a vital addition to the setup.
Nicknamed “Rodagol,” Steve Bruce is eager to meet up with his latest acquisition. Bruce: “He’s fast, about 6ft 1in, he’s good in the air, rangy rather than thick-set, can score a goal – just a genuine all-round striker.”
Bereft of any searing pace, Hugo Rodallega is a striker who likes to take position in the box, capable of scoring off either foot or his head, and looking to be the focal point of the attacks rather than involving himself too much in the build-up.
Video evidence of Hugo Rodallega can be seen here.