rodri Atletico Madrid

Manchester City Opinion: Why City should break their bank to sign Rodri?

Manchester City have the best squad in the Premier League but one problem area for Pep Guardiola is defensive midfield, with Fernandinho set to turn 34 in May.

Fernandinho is indispensable for Manchester City and there’s no player in the current squad that comes close to replacing him. Ilkay Gundogan is a fantastic player and has done well in the absence of Fernandinho but he isn’t the Brazilian, who has a habit of picking opponents’ pockets, intercepting their play and launching attacks from the base of the midfield.

Guardiola has already witnessed how crucial Fernandinho is when City had their dip earlier in the season. Defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester City in quick succession in the absence of Fernandinho was an eye-opener for Guardiola, with the City manager having no like for like replacement for the Brazilian defensive midfielder.

It is a position City should strengthen this summer despite Fernandinho showing no signs of slowing down. Yet, Guardiola knows he needs more options in the position and should target Atletico Madrid star Rodri in the summer.

Fernandinho

Rodri, 22, joined Atletico Madrid from Villarreal last summer and has quickly settled in the team under Diego Simeone. The Spaniard has nailed down a starting berth at Atletico, managing 24 league appearances so far whilst being heavily involved in the Champions League.

On first glance, there could not be a more different player to Fernandinho than Rodri, although the latter is more strong and powerful. Defensively, Rodri possesses excellent positioning and knows how to use his physicality to break up opposition attacks. He is an impeccable reader of the game and has the ability to pick the right pass.

The four-cap Spanish international is a classy operator of the ball with maturity beyond his years. His biggest strengths lie in recovering the ball and quickly releasing it to one of his teammates but one cannot overlook his agility in spite of standing 6ft 3in tall.

Rodri stays focused and likes to have the ball at his feet which enables him to pick a pass to his teammates at Atletico. He offers everything that Guardiola likes in a midfielder—calm, composure, technicality, poise, urgency and positional awareness.

Rodri

Atletico certainly do not want to let him go after just one season. However, if Manchester City can come up with a convincing proposal, Rodri may look to swap La Liga for the Premier League to play under arguably the best manager in the world.

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The Spanish midfielder certainly seems to have the skills and the quality on the ball required to play the role for City, but at only 22 he naturally seems to have a way to go before he can truly control games.

Rodri would make a fantastic deputy to the ageing Fernandinho and could solve City’s midfield conundrum for the next decade.

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