Argentina has a reputation for producing some of the world’s toughest tackling, no-nonsense defensive midfielders, with Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Mascherano two of the more recent examples.
These days the 2021 Copa America winners have Guido Rodriguez as their engine room enforcer, and the 27-year-old Real Betis star has been tipped for a move to the Premier League.
Liverpool are the latest club to be linked with Rodriguez, with reports in Spain claiming Jurgen Klopp wants to beef up his midfield options post Gini Wijnaldum. Arsenal have been linked in recent months as well, while Betis are said to want around £25m to sell.
Here’s all you need to know about the Prem-linked midfielder.
Rodriguez has earned 16 caps for Argentina thus far, making his national team debut in 2017.
He played a crucial role this summer as Argentina won the 2021 Copa America in Brazil, even heading in the winner in the 1-0 victory over rivals Uruguay – his first ever goal at international level.
As well as the Copa America, Rodriguez has collected a bunch of accolades in his career to date. He won the 2014 Copa Sudamericana with River Plate, and picked up the 2018 Liga MX title, as well as the 2019 Copa MX with Club America.
Alongside those, the 26-year-old won the 2018/19 Mexican Golden Ball for his performances, and is a two-time Liga MX defensive midfielder of the year. Not too shabby.
Rodriguez leaves it all out on the pitch when he plays. A tenacious and tireless worker, who thrives in recovering the ball at the base of midfield, halting attacks and showcasing his tackling ability.
He has been one of Europe’s top midfield tacklers over the last year, averaging over three tackles per 90 minutes, as well as more than 20 pressures per 90. He gives attackers no room to breathe.
The downside of the Argentine’s passionate and high intensity game is his disciplinary record.
Rodriguez has picked up eight red cards throughout his career, four of which all came in the 2017/18 season.
In addition, he’s picked up 20 yellows over the last two club seasons.
For those who cannot wait for summer transfer windows and want to get to business, Rodriguez would make a shrewd addition to any FIFA Career Mode road to glory at 76 rated.
His potential is said to only be 78, but with a cheap transfer fee in-game and a modest wage, combined with a very healthy four star skills, he could be a solid coup in your push for European football.
Rodriguez was signed by Betis in January of 2020 for around €4m on a four and a half year deal, with the Andalusian club sticking a buyout clause of €80m in his contract.
However, Betis are not expected to hold out for the full amount should suitors come calling with La Razon reporting that they will entertain offers of €30m (£25m).