Arsenal could be set to activate the release clause of a top quality Bundesliga defender, according to reports in Germany on Saturday.
The reports from Kicker suggest that their information tells them that Arsenal are in talks to sign Ricardo Rodriguez from VFL Wolfsburg thanks to a €25million release clause in his current contract. That is around £19million, and represents decent value for Rodriguez, a 23-year-old left-back highly thought of and considered by many as the best young left back in Europe.
Rodriguez has not had the best of seasons for Wolfsburg though, and now feels it is time to move on from the Bundesliga club, according to Kicker. Should he arrive, it would be more than likely that Kieran Gibbs would complete a move away for around £5million, leaving Rodriguez to compete with Nacho Monreal for a first team spot.
Arsenal have been preparing for the departure of Kieran Gibbs for some time and several young left-back options have been scouted. Rodriguez is the most polished of those options, and also probably the most expensive.
A statistic that really highlights Rodriguez’ attacking influence is the fact he makes 1.44 key passes per 90 minutes, despite being a defender, this compares to Monreal who manages less than half (0.69). Although he wasn’t as prolific last season, Rodriguez scored six goals and made four assists in the 2014/15 Bundesliga campaign. In comparison Monreal scored no goals and made three assists last season for Arsenal.
Despite his age, Rodriguez is a seasoned international with 35 caps for Switzerland and more to come this summer. Manchester United were also heavily linked before they opted to sign Luke Shaw.
The reports from Switzerland suggest that Arsenal are moving for Rodriguez thanks to recommendations from youth coach Jonker – who knows the player well from his time in Germany.
Rodriguez is also an international teammate of Granit Xhaka, Arsenal’s first signing of the summer. Should the Gunners have a legitimate interest in Rodriguez then you can expect Xhaka to try and have an influence on proceedings. The pair are rumoured to be close friends and will be teammates at Euro 2016 over the summer, perhaps Xhaka can talk about Arsenal DNA.