Pep Guardiola is surely expected to target a new centre midfielder in January after failing to sign Jorginho in the summer.
The Citizens targeted the Italian after he impressed for Napoli during last season’s title challenge. However, the midfielder instead followed Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea following Antonio Conte’s departure. With Fernandinho approaching the end of his career, Guardiola would be wise to target a long-term replacement for the Brazilian.
The Brazil international has been an integral part of Guardiola’s system with the Citizens, covering plenty of ground to allow Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and David Silva to flourish ahead of him. Replacing him will not be easy but signing Atletico Madrid’s Rodri could turn out to be a masterstroke by the former Barcelona manager.
Valued at £36m by Transfermarkt, the 22-year-old was a part of Atletico’s youth system before being released by the club after not being deemed good enough. Rodri joined Villarreal and progressed to their first-team before becoming a key player. In May, Atletico decided to bring him back to the club, and he has been brilliant under Diego Simeone thus far.
The Spaniard has made seven appearances in La Liga and earned a call-up to the Spain senior side as a result of his impressive showings. Rodri is an excellent defensive midfielder who loves protecting the defence – he has averaged an incredible 3.6 tackles per game. He is also a fantastic passer meaning he would slot seamlessly into Guardiola’s tiki-taka system – Rodri has completed 93% of his passes so far this season (WhoScored).
The youngster is quickly developing into one of the world’s finest holding midfielders, and Guardiola must do all he can to lure him to England.
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