Cruyff Turn unlocks Sunderland and Swansea doors for Wales star
July 1 had the potential to be a sad day for Hal Robson-Kanu, marking the first time in 12 years that the 27-year-old had been unemployed following his decision to run down his contract with Reading.
Instead, it turned out to be the greatest of his career as he scored the goal that sent Wales on their way to a Euro 2016 quarter-final victory over Belgium.
It wasn’t just the fact that he struck though. It was the quality of the effort that put Chris Coleman’s men in front in the 55th minute in Lille as he wiped out an entire defence with an exquisite Cruyff Turn.
Sky Sports are reporting that the forward’s representatives have been contacted by four different Premier League clubs in the aftermath of that king-making moment of majesty.
The likelihood is that none of those suitors were circling too closely at the end of the domestic campaign, with Robson-Kanu’s contribution to the Royals’ disappointing 17th-place Championship finish being unremarkable at best: 21 starts, three goals and six assists. 2014-15 was even worse: 26 starts, one goal and one assist.
He has netted double that at Euro 2016 despite only starting two matches for the 8/1 tournament winner market outsiders, and his goals have arguably been the two most important of the 10 that Wales have celebrated in France.
It was the former Arsenal schoolboy who emerged from the bench to grab the winner in the opener against Slovakia when their bright start threatened to yield no reward following Ondrej Duda’s equaliser, and then he fired them in front in their toughest test yet against Belgium.
Robson-Kanu has also been somewhat of a lucky charm. The scoreline was still level when his participation in Wales’ sole defeat against England was prematurely halted in the 72nd minute, while the round-of-16 tie with Northern Ireland was goalless when he was introduced in the 55th minute.
Moving for the attacker after a few sparkles of summer magic regardless of underwhelming club form might be reactionary, but when there is no fee or outlandish wage demands and the player has experience on both flanks and up front either alone or as part of a pair, it isn’t necessarily misguided.
Sky Sports didn’t identify the alleged suitors, yet there is speculation that Sunderland, who are eager to enhance Jermain Defoe’s support cast this pre-season and Swansea, whose natives would surely be the most enthusiastic about greeting the overnight success, are among the interested quartet.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.