Rodri: What can Man City expect from Atletico Madrid midfielder?
Spanish football expert Terrry Gibson gives the lowdown on the Atletico Madrid midfielder who has the champions of England and Germany scrambling for his signature
Last Updated: 19/06/19 1:47pm
Manchester City are prepared to activate Rodri's 60 million euro (£53.5m) release clause - but what can the Premier League champions expect from the Atletico Madrid midfielder if he moves to the Etihad?
Sky Sports News understands City are poised to trigger Rodri's buy-out clause along with Bayern Munich after he informed Atletico of his desire to leave the club.
Man City ready to play Rodri clause
Manchester City willing to trigger Rodri's release clause in Atletico Madrid contract
Rodri, who joined Atleti from Villarreal for £21.5m last summer, has been on City's radar for the past couple of transfer windows as they track down a long-term replacement for Fernandinho.
Spanish football expert Terry Gibson featured on the latest episode of the Transfer Talk podcast to give an insight into a player that has the English and German champions vying for his signature.
In the mould of Busquets
Remarkably, Rodri was released by his current club Atletico Madrid in 2013 due a to reported lack of physical strength.
Undeterred, though, he bounced back from the setback, bursting onto the scene at Villarreal in late-2015, making his senior debut against Huesca in the Copa del Rey.
His first three senior appearances were in that competition, but it wasn't long before he was exposed to La Liga, his debut against Rayo Vallecano in April 2016 leaving a lasting impression on Gibson.
"It took just 20 minutes into his debut at Villarreal to convince me that he was the real deal," Gibson said.
"His first touch, movement and anticipation in defensive situations was clear - he looked like a young Sergio Busquets immediately.
"Why a Premier League club didn't snap him up [when his release clause was] 20 million euros, I'll never know."
Slotted straight in under Simeone
After three seasons at Villarreal, Rodri returned to the club who released him three years earlier when Atletico Madrid triggered his 20 million euro (£17.8m) release clause last summer.
He arrived at the Wanda Metropolitano with one international cap under his belt and would go on to add another five in an impressive breakthrough season for both his new club and his country.
Gibson added: "It's never easy for new players to settle, so many new signings have fallen by the wayside at Atleti, but he's convinced Diego Simeone that he is the right player for him and been a constant since day one.
"Now we're talking about his 60 million euro buy-out clause being triggered, a fee that is particularly low for a player of his quality and one every big club in Europe would pay if he wants to leave."
With Fernandinho recently turning 34, the need to initially source cover as well as a long-term replacement for the Brazilian is as pressing as ever for City.
For Gibson, Rodri has all the attributes City are looking for, but he explains how his move to the Wanda Metropolitano allayed any lingering doubts among would-be suitors.
"It's going to be difficult to replace Fernandinho, but if you look around Europe, he's one of the obvious contenders," he added.
"As a general rule, Premier League clubs have more money than their counterparts in Europe and are prepared to wait that little bit longer to be 100 per cent convinced.
"If it took a move to Atletico Madrid to convince Manchester City, Manchester United and every big club in Europe then it's understandable that a year later there is interest."
End of an era at Atleti?
With Antoine Griezmann seemingly set for Barcelona, defenders Diego Godin, Juanfran and Filipe Luis seeking pastures new and Lucas Hernandez off to Bayern Munich, Rodri's departure would compound a mass exodus from Atletico Madrid that even Diego Simeone may not be able to deal with.
"If Rodri's release clause is met then Atletico will lose another big player, which is becoming a concern for them when you consider the players that have left or are leaving the club," Gibson said.
"The problem for Atletico is that they've lost an entire back four - Filipe Luis, Juanfran, Lucas Hernandez and Godin - four brilliant defenders that have been the foundations of Simeone's success."
Felix to fill the void?
Benfica sensation Joao Felix has been heavily linked with clubs across Europe this summer, including, most notably Atletico Madrid.
But, as Gibson explains, the talented Portugal international is not the player to solve Atleti's unfolding personnel crisis
"Felix will improve any team, it's no surprise the big clubs want a young player who's scoring lots of goals," he said. "He is a super talent. But is he a priority for Atletico Madrid?
"They will still have Alvaro Morata and Diego Costa, a decent front line. Yes, Felix would fit the bill in terms of the kind of player Simeone is looking for and would be a replacement for Griezmann, but the priorities should be defenders.
"It would be great to see him in La Liga, but it would be tough for Atletico to win the race to his signature."
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