Rodri Asks Atletico Madrid for 'Space' Amid Manchester City Rumours

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2019

Atletico Madrid's Spanish midfielder Rodri (L) challenges Celta Vigo's Slovak milfielder Stanislav Lobotka during the Spanish league football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and RC Celta de Vigo at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on April 13, 2019. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri has asked the Spanish club "to give me some space" to consider his future amid links to Manchester City and Bayern Munich.  

Per Simon Jones of MailOnline, the 22-year-old said he is "happy" at Atleti, but he added he could not guarantee his future will be in Madrid:

"I've asked the club for some peace, for them to give me some space. It would be hypocritical to say I can ensure anything. The only thing I can say is that I have a contract with Atletico Madrid, I have a clause, I have conditions and I'm happy here. I can't say anything else because I don't know what is going on."

Sergio Santos Chozas of AS reported last month that Rodri has "a formal offer on the table from Manchester City," and the Sky Blues are prepared to meet his €70 million (£62 million) release clause. 

According to Jones, Bayern are also willing to pay the fee in order to secure Rodri's services.

City's priority signing this summer is a long-term replacement for Fernandinho, who remains a crucial part of Pep Guardiola's first team but is now 34 years old.

Sporting Lisbon's Bruno Fernandes has been widely linked, but BBC Sport's David Ornstein believes he is no longer a target:

BBC 5 Live Sport @5liveSport

🔵 Rivalling #MUFC for Wan-Bissaka. 🔵 Interest in Chilwell has cooled. 🔵 Atletico's Rodri is 'on the list' to replace Fernandinho. Might be a busy summer at #MCFC, according to @BBCSport_David. 📱⚽️: https://t.co/0kUniWPgQm #bbcfootball https://t.co/btbIgJuuJJ

That adds even further credence to the idea that City will go after Rodri, as he is one of the best young holding midfielders in Europe, and in relative terms is quite good value.

The Spain international has a contract with Atleti until 2023, so there is little chance of the Madrid outfit accepting anything less than his release clause.

As a result, City would break their transfer record if they did sign him. The most City have previously spent on a player is the £60 million fee they paid Leicester City for Riyad Mahrez last summer.

But Rodri would arguably be worth that kind of outlay. 

One of the remarkable features of Guardiola's City squad is the depth they have in every position.

They managed to win a domestic treble in 2018-19 despite Kevin De Bruyne, their best player from 2017-18, being injured for much of the campaign.

The only area they do lack depth is in the deep-lying midfield role. When Fernandinho is injured, there is no other player who can do his job, although Ilkay Gundogan has deputised admirably on occasion last season:

Sam Tighe @stighefootball

Man City have spent over a year trying to identify Fernandinho’s successor, and just as they seemingly settle on Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan’s put his case forward. Surprisingly good in the holding role over the last month or so. Defensively improved, dictates rhythm well.

That problem could be solved by the purchase of Rodri, who would also have time to work as Fernandinho's understudy before replacing him permanently in the long term.