Analysis

Guido Rodriguez: The Real Betis midfielder who could be ‘nearing’ a move to Arsenal

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Although Arsenal are currently in the Europa League semi-final, they have had a disastrous season in terms of overall performance. However, the upcoming summer does seem to be exciting if you are an Arsenal fan as the Gunners are planning to raid the transfer market for 3 to 4 new signings. One of the players who has caught the eye of Arsenal’s technical director, Edu, is Real Betis’s central midfielder, Guido Rodriguez.

With players like Ainsley Maitland Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, Dani Ceballos, and Lucas Torreira set to leave the club permanently next season, it will take a decent toll off Arsenal in terms of player salaries, which in turn can facilitate the signing of a technical midfielder, something Arsenal have needed for a long time. 

Why are Arsenal targeting a midfielder?

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While signing Thomas Partey at the start of the season showed an intent by the club and Mikel Arteta to fix the ailing midfield, one man just cannot fix an entire midfield. Partey has been useful in providing a lot of defensive cover to the team, however, Arsenal do lack a calm presence in midfield who can glide around the center of the park and provide some sanity into an otherwise chaotic midfield. 

Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos have been average at best this season, while Mohamed Elneny, who is at best a squad player for the Gunners, is soldering on until his contract is up next year. While Granit Xhaka will continue to stay at the club beyond the season, Dani Ceballos is set to return to Real Madrid after his two loan stints with the Gunners.

This has led to Arsenal looking at reinforcements and somebody who could prove to be a formidable partner for Thomas Partey at the base of midfield. Arsenal have identified Guido Rodriguez as the replacement, and as per reports, the Argentine is closing in on a move with the Gunners. But why are Arsenal behind the Betis midfielder?

Guido Rodriguez could solve more than one problem for Arsenal:

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A player who joined the party a little late, Spanish club Real Betis signed 27-year-old Guido Rodriguez in January 2020 from Mexican side Club America.

While Rodriguez did take a little bit of time to get adjusted to a new country and a new league, he has been one of the most prominent midfielders in La Liga this season under ex-Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini.

The midfielder has featured 28 times for Betis this season, proving how detrimental he is to the functioning of the Spanish side. Rodriguez’s understanding of the game has helped Betis climb up the league table this season and it is no surprise Arsenal are interested in the player.

Rodriguez’s defensive positioning has been exquisite this season while he has also been key in breaking up the opposition play during counter-attacks. Concentration and focus are an important element of the midfielder’s game, as it has helped him in reading the game much more effectively than last season. Modern-day football consists of a lot of tactical fouls, and Rodriguez has mastered the ability this season.

The midfielder has covered the length of the pitch consistently this season while he has also dictated most of Betis’ play from the base of midfield. In terms of passing, Rodriguez has averaged an 85% pass completion per 90 mins this term. Further, the Argentine can also be seen covering up mistakes and making crucial clearances at the back for Betis. Real Betis, like Arsenal, have been susceptible to dangerous crosses into the box this season and Rodriguez’s aerial presence has been crucial to his side this season.

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Additionally, there are several times when Rodriguez has been key in organising the midfield during pressure situations while also shouting and gesturing continuously to provide constant support across all areas of the pitch. The 27-year-old has been a sublime leader for Betis this season and the Spanish outfit always knew the quality the midfielder was going to bring to their side.

Real Betis signed the midfielder on a 4-year deal until June 2024, which also includes a release clause of £69.5 million should any club want to secure his services. However, due to the pandemic, Betis are in urgent need of cash and are prepared to lower their asking price for the midfielder. While Betis will accept a cut-price offer, Arsenal will still need to fork up more than £40 million for the midfielder, however, it would be value for money if they should choose to do so.

Arsenal are said to be close to signing the midfielder, however, there will be no confirmation of any deal until the end of the season. Guido Rodriguez would be a sensational addition to the Gunners and if Mikel Arteta wants to make a push for the Top 4 next season, signing the 27-year-old Argentine will be a positive step in that direction.

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