Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri is on the cusp of joining Premier League champions Manchester City after the Spanish club put out an official statement regarding the much-speculated transfer.
The 23-year old has been on City’s radar for months, with manager Pep Guardiola desperately looking for a successor to Fernandinho, who at 34 years of age, has entered the twilight of his career.
Manchester City were previously linked to Tanguy Ndombele, who recently joined Tottenham Hotspur, but the English club are ready to land Rodri for a club-record fee of €70m.
A statement from the Wanda Metropolitano read: “La Liga has informed Atletico Madrid that Rodrigo Hernandez, through his lawyer, and representatives from Manchester City, paid the player’s release clause at the sports association’s headquarters on Wednesday, July 3.
“Manchester City has paid the buyout clause on behalf of the player. The player has therefore unilaterally terminated his contract with our club, which ran until June 30, 2023.”
Rodri had an excellent season with Atletico as they finished second in La Liga, above Real Madrid. Guardiola’s right-hand man Mikel Arteta, last month, likened the Spanish international to Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets.
“Rodri closely resembles what Busquets is”, Manchester City’s assistant coach said recently. “Few people read the game alone. Those who anticipate scenarios, who are mentally stable and who can be a coach in the field — like Xabi Alonso or Xavi Hernandez.”
Rodri joined Atletico Madrid after three years at Villarreal, quickly becoming one of their key players in midfield. He made his debut with Spain last year in a friendly against Germany winning six caps to his name since then.
Manchester City are also preparing to announce the signing of PSV Eindhoven left-back Angelino after they activated the buy-back clause inserted in the defender’s contract.
Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, have wasted no time in finding a replacement for Rodri, as Los Rojiblancos immediately announced the capture of Porto captain Hector Herrera on a three-year deal. The 29-year old midfielder is a like-for-like replacement for Rodri and will also provide tough competition to newly-signed Marcos Llorente from Real Madrid.