The latest name to be linked with a move to Arsenal comes as something of a surprise in the form of Real Betis midfielder Guido Rodriguez.
Reports in Spain claim that the Gunners have been watching the player for some time and are prepared to make a move for the 26-year-old when the window opens in the summer.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Betis will be prepared to sell the Argentina international if the right offer comes in.
The player reportedly has a £68million release clause which would be quite the outlay if Arsenal were to guarantee Rodriguez’ signature but what exactly would the Gunners be getting for their money? Football.london takes a close look.
Who is Rodriguez?
Rodriguez began his career in his native Argentina with River Plate but after struggling for playing time moved to Mexican side Club Tijuana in Mexico in 2016 before joining Club America a year later.
After helping the club to the Mexican title in 2019, Rodriguez was named Mexican Player of the Year award in 2019.
His performances caught the eye of Betis and the Spanish side secured the player’s services for around £3million in January 2020.
Rodriguez also has ten caps for Argentina although most of those have come in friendlies.
Playing in the defensive midfield role and taking little time to adapt to European football, Rodriguez has been a near ever-present for Betis since his arrival.
Why has Rodriguez caught the eye at Real Betis?
The player has featured 39 times over two seasons, missing just eight matches as the club successfully avoided relegation last term, and find themselves mounting an unlikely challenge for Europe this time around.
A combative player, Rodriguez has averaged 2.5 tackles per game this season which is the fifth highest in the division, and more than Thomas Partey who leads the way in the Arsenal squad with 1.8.
However, this comes at a cost with the player averaging 1.8 fouls each match, more than Granit Xhaka’s 1.4 this season.
This has led to him picking up 8 bookings this campaign – joint seventh highest in La Liga – in addition to the four yellows he was issued in his first season in Spain, despite only arriving midway through the campaign.
Averaging 46.2 passes a game, Rodriguez trails behind Xhaka’s 68.6 but is about par with other Arsenal midfielders Dani Ceballos (46.7), Partey (46.5) and Mohamed Elneny (43.2) however, his pass success of 84.2% is lower than all of those players.
Again defensively however, Rodriguez proves his worth with an average of 1.8 interceptions which is more than any player in the Arsenal squad.
Maintaining defensive discipline, Rodruiguez is not one to threaten the opposition goal, with just one deflected strike in a 1-0 win over Cadiz in December to shout about.
However, this is still as many as Xhaka and more than Partey and Ceballos who are yet to get off the mark this campaign.
Is a move likely?
It’s highly unlikely the Gunners will splash out the reported release clause on a player who isn’t a notable upgrade on what they already have, however Rodriguez would add useful experience to Arteta’s squad.
By signing up for our Arsenal newsletter, you will receive a once-daily email, focused around goings-on at Emirates Stadium.
You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Gunners – you’ll get all you need to know directly into your inbox.
We’ll also send out special newsletters with any big breaking news too.
And with the January transfer window now open there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Arsenal section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
At 26, the player is still yet to hit his peak years for his position so could be a useful asset in the mid-to-long term, particularly if he continues to improve.
With the futures of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torrieira unclear, as well as Ceballos’ probable return to Real Madrid, and ongoing concerns over Partey’s fitnees, Arteta is likely to be in the market for another midfielder come the summer.
If Arsenal can convince Betis to lower their demands, the Argentine could be the man.
*All stats from WhoScored