Quique Setien Praises 'Extraordinary' Rodrigo Amid Barcelona Transfer Rumours

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 24, 2020

Barcelona's new coach, Spaniard Quique Setien, holds a press conference at the Joan Gamper Sports City training ground in Sant Joan Despi on January 18, 2020. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP) (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)
LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Barcelona manager Quique Setien described Valencia striker Rodrigo as "extraordinary" on Friday amid speculation the Catalan giants want to sign the Spain international in the January transfer window. 

Setien spoke to reporters (h/t Marca) about the 28-year-old ahead of Barcelona's La Liga match with Valencia at Mestalla on Saturday:

"Rodrigo? I like all good players. He's an extraordinary footballer, tomorrow he could give us problems and he is a key player for their team. I would have preferred if he wasn't playing, but we know that if he's not there then there is another player, Valencia have a great squad with or without Rodrigo."

Setien wants Barcelona to sign a new No. 9 in January after losing Luis Suarez to injury for four months, and the club's top target is Rodrigo, according to Sport. Barca have held talks with his agent, Jorge Mendes, and want to bring him in on loan.

Rodrigo joined Valencia from Benfica in 2015 and has become an important player for Los Che. The striker has eight goals in all competitions for Valencia this season and was also on target for Spain in their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Sweden and the Faroe Islands.

Opta highlighted his impressive record for the national team:

Rodrigo has been sidelined by injury in recent weeks but could play against Barcelona on Saturday. Valencia coach Albert Celades told reporters "he's ready to play and to help us."

The striker is just one of many attackers who have been linked with a move to Barcelona before the close of the transfer window at the end of the month. 

Catalan newspapers Mundo Deportivo and Sport (h/t Santi Gimenez at AS) have reported that Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bundesliga top scorer Timo Werner are also targets.

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is also reportedly on Barcelona's radar, according to Sport (h/t Football Espana).

Suarez's injury has left Barcelona light in attack and a winter signing does make sense as the club remain in contention in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League.

However, time is running out in the transfer window and Barca also have the option of using Antoine Griezmann as a No. 9 for the rest of the season. The Frenchman played in a central role on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey and scored both goals in Barca's 2-1 win over UD Ibiza.

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