Well if you believe the papers and online versions of the same thing, then Arsenal are about to sign Guido Rodriguez from Real Betis ahead of the summer transfer window. According to Estadio Deportivo (via Sports Mole), Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has marked the Real Betis player as his top summer target and both the clubs are close to reaching an agreement for the player.
The Argentinian defensive midfielder (27) isn’t going to set most pulses racing but if you watch him, you’ll see that his acquisition will certainly add some steel alongside Thomas Partey and that he’s also an upgrade on Granit Xhaka. So what does he bring?
Aggression, determination, distribution, and timing, plus a good engine. Another bonus is that he isn’t just a retriever of a lost cause or ankle nibbler, he can also pass a ball over distance and displays a good sense of when to attack and when to defend.
His ability to tackle without getting a card would be welcomed at Arsenal as would his natural positioning as an additional defender. He is gifted with spatial awareness and seems to have the lines of the pitch embedded into his brain which makes his timing even more acute.
The fun side of Guido Rodriguez is watching him steal the ball off the opposition with the minimum fuss or effort and convert defence into attack, something that makes me smile every time. He has a nonchalant approach to the heat of battle which has become second nature. In all the footage I’ve seen thus far, there’s no hint of panic or rash behaviour, he seems self-contained and calm whilst running off like a thief with a prized possession.
His age (27) is just on the cusp for me and I would have preferred three years shaved off any potential target but his valuation could be a big plus. Currently priced at £16.2m, but available for half due to financial problems at Real Betis.
Is Guido Rodriguez the key element to a morphing Arsenal side? No, not without a creative midfielder ahead of him but it’s a decent start. A left-back as cover for Tierney, a centre-back, and another striker if Arteta can’t trust Balogun and Martinelli, only then will things improve dramatically.
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