It had been rumoured almost from the very moment the 2018/19 season came to a close for Manchester City. In fact, there had been rumours even before then that the Premier League champions had identified Rodri as the man they wanted as their marquee addition this summer.
It’s easy to see why they were attracted to the midfielder. He is a player very much in the mould of a Pep Guardiola team, with many seeing Rodri as the natural successor to Sergio Busquets for Spain. At Atletico Madrid, Rodri showed his quality and capacity for the big time, but under Diego Simeone it felt like he was being held back somewhat.
This won’t be the case at the Etihad Stadium. Rodri will now receive a footballing education like no other. Even players who have played at the top level for years talk about the shock of coming into a Guardiola side, but it is often players like Rodri, young, talented and hungry, who stand to benefit the most from this.
Not much fanfare greeted Rodri as he was officially announced as a Manchester City player earlier this week. That was largely down to the protracted nature of the transfer, with City’s pursuit of the 23-year-old reported as long ago as April. He is not a goalscorer or a flashy winger either.
Some might even say that City’s addition of Rodri is boring. But this is a symptom of what makes them so effective in the transfer market. Rodri was an obvious target for them. There was no surprise factor to their targeting of the Spanish international. He is a sensible, entirely logical addition.
Of course, City didn’t really need Rodri in the immediate term. Fernandinho had one of his best seasons for the club last term as the defending champions retained their crown with another incredible points tally. But Fernandinho is approaching his 35th birthday and so Man City saw the opportunity to secure his successor while they could.
The plan will be to ease Rodri in gently to his new surroundings. There is no need to drop him in at the deep end and perhaps by the end of the season he will have replaced Fernandinho in the City starting lineup. If not, that transition will happen some enough. The Etihad Stadium side might not be making many headlines with their transfer moves, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing the right thing.
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