Rodrigo battling for Leeds United future with major contract decision looming this season
This season has been a bit of a wild ride for Leeds fans already, but their standout performer has quite clearly been Spanish forward Rodrigo.
The former Valencia striker started the season as the number ten behind Patrick Bamford and led the Premier League goalscoring charts with four goals in his first three appearances of the season.
But his fine start was cut short after just half an hour of the game against Everton, when he went down under an innocuous challenge from Jordan Pickford and suffered a dislocated shoulder.
It was seen as a big blow at the time as the team were now without their man source of goals for the season, but taking a deeper look at the situation Leeds may have stumbled upon a blessing in disguise.
Rodrigo is 31 years old now and will be 32 before the season ends, and next summer he will be entering the final 12 months of his contract at Elland Road.
As the club’s record signing when he initially arrived at the club, expectations were big and he struggled to deliver under Marcelo Bielsa’s reign but seemed to pick up more under Jesse Marsch.
His importance grew as the pressing game became more intense and there was less man-to-man marking all over the pitch.
But at his age and with his injury record a decision has to be made about whether the club should be relying on him so heavily or whether he can afford to be let go next summer.
It will be the last chance Leeds have of making any money on him, while he’ll still be of a decent age to make an impact somewhere if needed.
But they must ensure they have a replacement plan ready if they do make that decision, with the club investing heavily this summer in bolstering the squad in attack especially.
Rodrigo will likely be pushing to keep his place in the squad with great performances once he returns from injury, and if he’s able to do that then it will leave the board and Marsch with a difficult decision to make.