Manchester City broke their transfer record to bring in Rodri from Atletico Madrid and the midfielder has taken no time to endure himself to supporters with his comments about Manchester United. The 23-year-old has cost City £63 million after the club decided to do away with negotiations and pay his release clause. The midfielder has signed a five-year contract with the Premier League champions.
The Spaniard has taken a little time to endure himself to City faithful after taking a dig at Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson branded City as the ‘noisy neighbours’ back in 2009 but the reverse may hold true at this juncture. United have been doing the talk about winning the title whereas City have gone ahead and picked up back-to-back league titles. In fact, City have become the first team to retain the title since United’s title success in the 2008-09 season.
There is little doubt that Manchester is turning blue. In fact, these were Rodri’s comments after being unveiled as the City midfield stalwart. According to Goal, he said:
“I love the City, I love Manchester and it’s becoming more blue!”
Rodri is expected to be the future replacement for Fernandinho, who at 34 years of age is unlikely to be the cover that Guardiola wants for his defenders. Even though Fernandinho who has done a stellar job – particularly under the Guardiola era – for City, the club are preparing for a change with the midfielder recently turning 34. Fernandinho’s contract runs out at the end of next season and he is widely expected to leave City.
Yet, Fernandinho has played more football than any other player in the Premier League under Guardiola. The Brazilian’s ability to distribute the ball, protect the back four, and even score goals have been vital to City’s success in the last two seasons. Age appeared to catch up with the former Shakhtar Donetsk player last season when he featured in just 42 matches last season.
Guardiola prefers to have a distributor rather than a destroyer sitting just ahead of his back four. This job was done to excellence by Sergio Busquets at Barcelona. Unsurprisingly, Rodri is a player who is similar to Busquets. In fact, Rodri is even tipped to succeed the Catalan midfielder for the Spanish national team in the future. Rodri tries to keep things simple in the centre of the park. He does not waste possession, which is crucial to Guardiola’s style of play, with risky passes. However, it is fair to expect that Rodri will not be rigid to his position, and there could be some element of forward contribution from the Spaniard.
Rodri may get regular gametime straightaway – not a surprise considering that he is the club’s record signing. However, Guardiola has always taken a measured approach when it comes to bedding his new players into the team. The problem for the City manager is the Copa America, which could drain Fernandinho of vital energy at the start of the season.
As City go in search of a third consecutive league title for the first time in their history, Rodri can have an influential role.