Premier League champions Manchester City are set to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri in a €70m deal as their long-term successor for club veteran Fernandinho.
The Blues have been quiet in the early parts of this summer transfer window following a historic domestic treble-winning season which saw them lift the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup. The club’s tussle with UEFA over a potential Financial Fair Play breach has kept the owners and management distracted from transfer business.
However, Manchester City’s relentless scouting for Fernandinho’s successor in defensive midfield has finally paid off as Rodri’s transfer to the Etihad Stadium looks imminent. Sky Sports Italia and reliable Guardian journalist Fabrizio Romano have reported that City have confirmed they will pay the Spaniard’s release clause in the coming days.
The 22-year old will become Pep Guardiola’s first signing of this summer as he looks to bolster his squad to challenge for the Champions League next season. Consequentially, the signing will break the club’s transfer record held by last summer’s arrival of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester.
Rodri joined Atletico Madrid last summer in a £20m move from Villarreal, quickly becoming an integral part of Diego Simeone’s side. And his increased value only indicates his potential to become a world-class player in the coming years.
The midfielder has been likened to Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets and is touted to be the long-term replacement for the 30-year old in the Spanish national team.
“Rodri closely resembles what Busquets is”, Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta 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.”
German champions Bayern Munich have also shown great interest in Rodri but Manchester City are favourites to land him because of the player’s will to be coached by Pep Guardiola. An official announcement from the club could be delayed till June 30th as City are also transitioning from Nike to their new £650-million sponsor Puma.