Atletico Madrid have reportedly won the race to sign Rodri, beating Barcelona to bring the Villarreal midfielder back to the Spanish capital.

Spanish publication MARCA report that Atletico Madrid have reached an agreement with Villarreal to re-sign Rodri next summer in a €20 million deal. Los Rojiblancos have, thereby, beaten Barcelona to secure the signature of the highly-rated Spanish midfielder.

Rodri started his youth footballing career with Atletico Madrid in 2007, gradually progressing through the ranks at the club before being discarded six years later due to his “lack of physical strength”. Villarreal subsequently snapped the player up, and that is where he found his footing, breaking into the first-team setup in 2015.

Since then, the player has gone from strength to strength, and is now well established in Javier Calleja’s squad. This season, Rodri has made 22 appearances across all competitions for the Yellow Submarines, elevating into a mainstay in midfield in the absence of captain Bruno Soriano.

His impact has been so profound this season that the player is being widely regarded as the successor to Sergio Busquets for the Spanish National Side. Barcelona intended to make that happen at the club level as well, but their plans have been foiled by Atletico Madrid, who have succeeded in bringing him back to the club.

Barcelona have been desperately aiming to bolster their midfield in recent months, although the focus has primarily been on securing the services of a long-term successor for Andres Iniesta. It now looks like they have turned their attention towards doing the same for Busquets as well.

Signing another defensive midfielder would be a sound decision keeping the present times in mind as well, considering there is no like-for-like replacement for Busquets in Ernesto Valverde’s squad. But, the Blaugrana will have to set their sights elsewhere, with Atletico Madrid set to sign Rodri next summer.

Los Rojiblancos themselves have been eyeing possible defensive midfield recruits following the retirement of Tiago at the end of last season. With Gabi in the twilight years of his career, the need to sign a defensive midfielder accentuated.

But, the sanctions imposed on them by FIFA restricted Diego Simeone from adding quality players to his ranks in the summer. With the ban set to end this month, Atletico Madrid have taken steps to reinforce midfield.

An agreement has been reached between the two clubs for the transfer of Rodri, with the player moving to the Wanda Metropolitano when the transfer window opens next summer, in a €20 million that also includes €5 million in add ons.

So while Atletico Madrid have now gone on to reinforce midfield, Barcelona must find ways to bolster two positions, either in January or next summer. As far as Los Rojiblancos are concerned, the signing of the ‘new Sergio Busquets’ could be an inspired move that could be a long-term solution in midfield.

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