Jay Rodriguez seals move to Southampton

Jay Rodriguez keeps the ball under close control.

Jay Rodriguez keeps the ball under close control.

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CLARETS striker Jay Rodriguez has completed his protracted record transfer to Premier League newcomers Southampton, I understand.

The 22-year-old tied up the formalities of his £7m move this afternoon, with the 4-year deal set to be officially announced at 7-30 p.m.

The fee takes him above Steven Fletcher as the club's record sale, and he becomes Southampton's record signing, surpassing the £4m Stuart Gray paid for Rory Delap.

Homegrown forward Rodriguez, who played junior football with Barrowford Celtic, signed professional terms under Steve Cotterill five years ago and has since scored 46 goals in 146 appearances, including 21 last term as he ended the campaign as top-scorer at the club, earning a place in the PFA Championship team of the season.

Rodriguez's first goal came in September 2008 as he netted a late winner in the Carling Cup against Premier League Fulham, and he ended the season with five goals to his name - all scored at the Jimmy McIlroy Stand End at Turf Moor, including the incredible equaliser against Spurs in the Carling Cup semi-final, taking the tie into extra time.

The former Barden High School pupil came off the bench to help win promotion in the play-off final at Wembley against Sheffield United, but injury hit his hopes of appearing in the Premier League, as a broken foot put him out for three months.

On his return he was loaned out to Barnsley, where he netted with his first touch at Preston, but back at Burnley, he forced his way into the side under Brian Laws, back in the Championship, helped by a superb performance at Crystal Palace and a dramatic winner against Preston.

He ended that season with 15 goals - netting 11 after the turn of the year, to win the club's player of the year award, while also collecting his only England Under 21 cap as a substitute in Italy.

And he built on that this season, hitting 21, before a groin problem ruled him out of nine of the last 11 games.