The striker has been the subject of much transfer speculation already this month, with Villa in the market for attacking options.
Various news outlets have been carrying the story today that Villa have seen an initial bid rejected.
This first bid is reported to have been in the region of £6–£7 million, rather than the £10 million suggested elsewhere.
This offer has been outright rejected and it remains unclear whether Rhodes even harbours an interest in coming to Villa Park at all.
With Villa and Bruce having already stated that the club will not be held to ransom during this transfer window, the bid on the lower end of the scale certainly seems more plausible.
Indeed, anything over and above £9 million seems excessive. But then, what is an outside chance of the playoffs worth?
This range of bid would also align to the fee recouped from the sale of Rudy Gestede, coincidentally also involving Middlesbrough.
It would also fuel the belief that Bruce must raise funds if he is to spend.
Whilst there is likely to be some debate amongst Villa supporters about the availability of money to improve Villa, Financial Fair Play appears to be having a bearing on decisions.
Villa spent exorbitantly in the summer and now find ourselves with a Catch 22.
Invest heavily and take a financial penalty (as Bournmouth did), gamble on the success of those investments and offset the loss with increased spoils in the Premier League.
The risk of failure would however, be considerable, with the penalties being compounded by any failure to get promoted.
Those penalties include considerable fines and transfer embargoes; which the league have readily enforced on other clubs.
COST & VALUE
Villabora paid a £9 million fee for Rhodes in February 2016 as part of his transfer from Blackburn Rovers.
So he doesn’t and will not come cheap. However, it was a gamble which paid off from the Teesiders point of view, assisting in their securing promotion last term.
Middlesbrough may also be holding out for a pay day closer to £12 million. That’s certainly a price worth pausing for thought over.
They have the benefit of the rest of the January window to mull offers from increasingly desperate parties. The perverse thing is that there will be others, certainly as the window progresses and other targets are missed, who will see £12 million as a worthwhile option.
It’s enough to keep baying fan-bases appeased that’s for sure.
Transfer fees are obviously ridiculous, even by modern standards, but this is the world that Villa have to operate in.
The value of any outlay must ultimately be judged against any perceived benefit.
Rhodes has the pedigree and an outstanding Championship record, but then so does struggling Ross McCormack. Which opens the uncomfortable debate around McCormack at Villa. Is is him? Or is it us.
Experience would tend to suggest the former.
Whilst any bolstering of Villa’s attack would have to be welcomed (Ayew, Gabby & Hepburn-Murphy won’t get us back to the big-time), is Rhodes what we need?
We certainly want his goals – but without a supply chain to feed him – wouldn’t he just be another starved striker at Villa Park?
In short, might the investment, particularly in light of the FFP implications, be better directed at a creative midfielder who can deliver assists to the attack we already possess?
Or do we just need more from Grealish, Adomah or consider recalling the once heralded Carles-Gil?
What is certain is that we know that Villa need to find improvements. The other unavoidable fact is that every selling club we approach knows this too.
Regardless of the outcome, we are firmly into an age of gambles, risk and the unknown.