Chelsea have made progress in their quest to sign Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez and are apparently willing to fork out £21m for the player. The Swiss left-back has been a long-time target of Arsene Wenger’s but it is looking likely that Chelsea have called upon their spirit of hijacking deals and is considered the frontrunner again.
Rodriguez has played 13 games for the German side this season and he has apparently been a target for clubs like Liverpool and the Manchester clubs in the past. The lack of options in that position for the clubs have made them explore the various options.
Born in Zurich to a Spanish father and Chilean mother, Rodriguez started his professional career at FC Zurich in 2009 having spent eight years as part of the club’s youth set-up.
He was promoted to the senior squad at the age of 16 and was an unused substitute for Zurich’s 3-2 defeat to NK Maribor in the Champions League. Rodriguez eventually made his debut in 2010, coming on as a substitute in his side’s 2-0 win over Bellinzona in the Swiss Super League.
He went on to make 35 appearances for the club, scoring two goals before being sold to Wolfsburg in January 2012 for an undisclosed fee.
Despite not playing the whole season, his displays had earned him fans and he was subsequently voted as the Fans’ Player of the Season the following summer.
The well-built and impressive frame of the left-back makes him stand out from players in his position. His relatively young age and his physical maturity make him a fearsome prospect especially in one on one situations. He is an excellent dribbler and is great in the air.
His crossing and also his presence during set-pieces will come in handy. Wolfsburg are in a dire situation and look destined to be embroiled in the battle for the drop which might allow the club to cash in and the player an escape route.
Chelsea might be looking like a team without any chinks in their armour but their ability to focus on a single competition is aiding them along with their performance and brilliant tactics. They haven’t had to rotate their players much as they have always got enough opportunities to recover getting a full week more often than not.
But with Cesar Azpilicueta moving to the centre, Chelsea have only Marcos Alonso as their recognised left-back. With Champions League looking a certainty next season and also the need to freshen things up to sustain the title race, Rodriguez seems to be an ideal fit for Conte.