THE PL TRANSFER GAMES
by Sammir Goyall
Dubbed as ‘New Sergio Busquets’, Rodri aka Rodrigo Hernandez is 23 years old Spanish defensive midfielder who hails from Madrid. After staying at Atletico Madrid’s academy for six years, he joined Villareal on free transfer at the age of 17 owing to ‘lack of physical strength’. He made his La Liga debut for Villareal in 2016. His impressive performances for the Yellow Submarines have compelled Atletico Madrid to bring him back in 2018, ending his 5 years stay at Villareal. The Los Colchoneros have paid € 25 Million including bonuses and have placed € 70 Million release clause in his 5 year contract.
Though being youngest among his contemporaries at Atletico, he was still on top in pecking order for matchdays ahead of Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey. Standing at six foot three, Rodrigo would already command a taller frame and presence owing to his ability on the ball and reading of the game. He shined ahead of other players by putting out fires across the pitch and taking forward swift counter-attacking moves. He slotted in well and became a glaring centerpiece in Diego Simeone’s defensive style of play. it was easy to see his ability on the ball and reading of the game. He shined ahead of other players by putting out fires across the pitch and taking forward swift counter-attacking moves. Rodri, clearly has the eye for a tackle and aggression for a duel. He also possesses the skill to intercept and push forward to counter or dictate the game.
The current Premier League champions Manchester City have been looking to sign Fernandinho’s successor in the midfield for more than a year. After being unable to sign Fred and Jorginho last year, signing a defensive midfielder has become a priority signing for this year’s transfer window. The club have listed out multiple candidates, with Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele topping the list. But, Pep Guardiola preferred to sign a midfielder who can fit in his possession based forward-thinking philosophy.. Rodri, with his incredible passing and clearance skills, grabbed Pep’s attention and became one of the top contenders for the spot. The club, being unable to secure Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz’s work permit leading to his transfer to Aston Villa, coupled with Tanguy Ndombele’s decision to join Spurs, have led City to zero on signing Rodri to replace Fernandinho in the squad. Manchester City have activated Rodri’s release clause in July and signed the player on 5 year contract. Atletico responded to this sale by replacing Rodri with signing Marcos Llorente from Real Madrid and Hector Herrera from Porto.