SPL focus

Rooney and Goodwillie in demand

January 5, 2011
By Andy Moir
(Archive)

Like the rest of the world, the Scottish Premier League is bracing itself for a flurry of activity in the January transfer window, with two strikers in particular courting interest at home and abroad.

Adam Rooney inverness
PA PhotosAdam Rooney has been turning heads with some impressive displays

Inverness Caley Thistle striker Adam Rooney could be about to join the Russian rich list after emerging as a surprise target for Kuban Krasnodar. The Russian First Division side, managed by former Chelsea full back Dan Petrescu, are understood to be ready to test Caley's resolve and make a bid for him this week.

The 22-year-old is one of the hottest properties in the SPL after starring for the Highlanders since his move north. Rooney, who is also attracting interest from several other clubs both home and abroad, netted 26 goals when the Jags won promotion back to the top flight.

The Dubliner, a bargain £50,000 signing from Stoke City in 2008, has followed that up with 13 SPL goals so far this season and could boast 29 goals in 39 games throughout 2010. Those impressive statistics have not gone unnoticed and it seems Rooney could yet follow in the footsteps of Aiden McGeady and Garry O'Connor.

McGeady left Celtic when he completed a £10 million move to Spartak Moscow back in August after being unable to resist the lure of a bumper pay packet. O'Connor was one of the first to blaze a trail to the former Soviet state when he joined Lokomotiv Moscow in 2006. The Scotland international swapped Edinburgh's Princes Street for Red Square when he left Hibs in a deal worth £1.5 million.

Now Petrescu wants Rooney to spearhead his strike force and although he's unlikely to command the same level of wages as McGeady and O'Connor or even those of his famous namesake at Old Trafford he'll likely still net a tidy deal.

Rooney has adapted to life in the Highlands with ease and now faces a major decision over his future, especially as Terry Butcher is pulling out all the stops to keep him at the club.

"My family are over from Dublin and I want to have a good chat with them to see what they think," Rooney has said. "I certainly believe I'm going to be here at Inverness until the end of the season - I don't see that changing. The truth is I'm really enjoying it here and I enjoy the way Caley Thistle play.

"I'm playing regularly and managing to score a few goals. I don't see that changing either, but I'll sit down with the family and then seek out the gaffer for a chat. I never knew much about the area before I moved up from Stoke, but I really like it here.

"The people are friendly and welcoming and nobody really bothers you around Inverness. I'm really settled and I've got good friends at the club, but everyone wants to test themselves at the highest level possible. It's about determining what is best for your career."

Caley would find it hard to resist any significant offer and Krasnodar are keen to land Rooney now, but the Inverness forward won't be the only SPL striker in demand during the January transfer window.

Interest is also growing in Dundee United's David Goodwillie, who is maturing into one of the most dangerous strikers north of the border. The 21-year-old, who netted a last-gasp equaliser in the New Firm derby draw with Aberdeen, is understood to be interesting Rangers boss Walter Smith.

However, a move to Ibrox could hinge on the protracted takeover of the Govan club or if they manage to generate any funds by players moving on this month. Goodwillie's club colleagues at Tannadice reckon the forward could well be on his way to a bigger club during the January transfer window.

United defender Sean Dillon admits he wouldn't be surprised to see the Arabs cash in on their prize asset.

"If players like David do well then they tend not to be here for too long," Dillon says. "The club signs players so that they can produce great performances every week and if players are doing that then the chances of them staying are slim.

"It's not a nice thing for the fans to hear but that's what happens at any club outside of maybe Manchester United or Real Madrid. If a good offer comes in then it's likely to be taken. There are plenty of other players waiting for their chance if he does go but, as far as I am concerned, David is here and until he goes I'd be expecting to see him score a few more goals."