The Citizens have one of the best squads in Europe and new additions usually have to be patient for game time with the exception of outstanding quality.
For all their plethora of options, there was one area that appeared to show some weakness last season, but such is the quality of City’s scouting network, it was sorted almost immediately.
The arrival of Rodri from Atletico Madrid is undoubtedly the bargain of the summer, and the 23-year-old may prove to be the final piece of the puzzle to help City win an unprecedented quadruple.
Halfway through last season, Manchester City lost Fernandinho to injury and saw him miss two games against Crystal Palace and Leicester City. They were two games that people believed City could win easily with or without their anchorman and it turned out they were badly mistaken.
City surprisingly lost both games and surrendered at the time their place at the top of the League table to Liverpool before eventually playing catching up and becoming champions.
These two losses showed Manchester City’s vulnerabilities without the Brazilian in the side and given his age (now 34) they would need a backup midfielder who will, later on, become his successor as soon as possible.
Atletico Madrid signed Villarreal midfielder Rodri for a second spell at the club after releasing him previously for a lack of ‘physical capacity’ in 2013. He was signed to replace stalwart Gabi who had moved on and he made a huge impact on the team when he played.
His impressive first season at the Metropolitano earned him a Spain call up and made him a subject of interest from major clubs in Europe. Manchester City eventually won the race, paid his £62m release clause and signed him for a record fee in July.
So how does he compare to Fernandinho? This player analysis shows what he will add to the club and what makes him an ideal successor to the Brazilian.
Both players defensively can do everything from tackling to reading the game well to make interceptions either during the press or when the team sits deeper.
Fernandinho edges out in the interceptions department with 1.4 a game while Rodri averages 1.2 interceptions a game while the latter manages 3 tackles a game more than the former’s two.
It is important to note that Rodri played for a team naturally more defensive-minded and had the ball less so it makes more sense to see him attempt more tackles (4.1 a game) than Fernandinho (3 a game).
Both players make similar reads defensively with their anticipation and ability to instantly sense danger, cut passing lanes and put a foot in for tackles. One difference between the two though is that Rodri is quicker than Fernandinho and has an overall deceptive pace. He can be seen on many occasions covering up for his centre backs in swift counter situations.
Fernandinho is 5’9 with good leaping ability compared to Rodri who is a towering 6’3. He wins an average of 2.3 headers a game out of 3.4 aerial duels a game with Fernandinho winning 2.8 duels out of 4.9 attempts.
Both players are great passers of the ball with the ability to spray passes from short to long-range. Rodri averages a total of 56.7 average passes per game, he plays an average of 48 accurate short passes and 3 accurate long passes a game. He also has a passing accuracy of 91%.
Fernandinho, on the other hand, has a total of 75.9 passes a game on average with 63.7 successful short passes and 3 accurate long balls each game. He also has a passing accuracy of 87.5% which is less than Rodri’s but is understandable considering how much more passes he makes a game.
It would definitely be interesting to see Rodri keep these impressive stats in a possession-oriented team like City.
Guardiola will be pleased with his young enforcer’s numbers in an impressive debut against Liverpool in the community shield.
Rodri's Man City debut by numbers:
100% aerial duels won
92% pass accuracy
A positive start. pic.twitter.com/WCnKizMqvq
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 4, 2019
In conclusion, when you compare Rodrigo and Fernandinho, you come to find out that there’s actually not much difference between the two. Both are modern-day defensive midfielders who can spot a pass, make runs and defend effectively.
Also, Rodri is eleven years younger than Fernandinho and the young Spaniard will definitely learn a lot under the Brazillian. You get the feeling that Rodri would be a £62 million bargain for the Citizens in the coming years.