Rodri: What Man City can expect from Spain international
Spanish football expert Terrry Gibson gives the lowdown on Rodri
Last Updated: 04/07/19 9:25am
Man City have activated Rodri's release clause at Atletico Madrid - so what will the Spanish international bring to the club?
The Spanish club confirmed on Wednesday afternoon the Premier League champions had met Rodri's buy-out figure, after the Spaniard had informed Atletico of his desire to leave the club.
Rodri, who joined Atleti from Villarreal for £21.5m last summer, had been on City's radar for the past couple of transfer windows as they searched for a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. So what convinced them to make a move for the 23-year-old?
Here, we take a look, with the help of Spanish football expert Terry Gibson, who featured on a recent episode of the Transfer Talk podcast...
In the mould of Busquets
Remarkably, Rodri was released by 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 20m 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."
With Fernandinho recently turning 34, the need to source cover as well as a long-term replacement for the Brazilian was pressing for City.
Rodri has all the attributes City are looking for, says Gibson - and he explained how the player's 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, Rodri is one of the obvious contenders," said Gibson.
"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."
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