Manchester City are growing increasingly concerned that star midfielder Rodri may attempt to force through a move to Barcelona next summer, according to reports.
The 26-year-old is one of Pep Guardiola’s most important players and he will be desperate to keep him at the Etihad as he looks to reassert City’s dominance in the Premier League.
However, the Spain international is believed to be one of Barcelona’s top targets, as Xavi looks to raid his former manager’s club for one of his best players.
Indeed, the Catalans are currently looking for a potential successor to Sergio Busquets, who has been Barca’s go-to defensive midfielder for the past 13 years.
After winning a record-breaking 33 major trophies during his illustrious career, including a World Cup with Spain, eight La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Reys, the 34-year-old has become a club legend.
It looks likely that Busquets will depart the club at the end of the season, so Rodri would have enormous shoes to fill if he did make the switch to Camp Nou, but arguably he is the best candidate for the role.
Since joining Manchester City in July 2019, the Spaniard has made 181 appearances across all competitions, scoring 14 goals and making 14 assists.
Like Busquets, he has an appetite for lifting trophies, winning two league titles and two League Cups in just three and a half years with City so far.
But now, according to Football Insider Rodri’s head has been turned by the lure of Barcelona, with the midfielder keen to move back to his home country as soon as possible.
However, any successful bid from the Catalans would likely have to be a huge one, given Rodri only penned a new deal last year, keeping him in Manchester until 2027.
Indeed, Rodri is one of the few players who Guardiola doesn’t really rotate, despite him doing so with other high-profile players such as Kevin de Bruyne.
This season, City’s number 16 has played all but two of City’s matches in all competitions this season, making 31 appearances in total, scoring one goal and making five assists.
Rodri’s best attributes are his passing and defensive abilities. So far, he has averaged 2.2 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per match, showing he can read the game very well.
He is also one of the best passers in the Premier League, with a success rate of 93.2%, something which is vital to a Guardiola team.
Barcelona manager Xavi is currently trying to implement the same style that Guardiola did during his time at Camp Nou – his trademark Tiki-Taka tactics.
For this to work, you need players who can pass the ball quickly and effectively, while they also must have the desire to win the ball back quickly when out of possession – Rodri does both of these things very well.
It’s not yet clear what price City would demand for the Spaniard should Barca come in for him, but according to Transfermarkt, he is valued at €80m (approx. £71.5m).
The Catalans have had well-documented financial issues over the past few years, but with them currently eight points clear at the top of the La Liga table, this is likely to be less of a problem next summer.
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