It’s all across the news and it is making noise on social media; Leeds United are heavily pursuing a deal for Valencia forward Rodrigo. It is definitely going to be el sabor del dia for United fans and their transfer news servings.
It is transfer interest which can be safely filed in the ‘out-of-the-blue’ and ‘well-didn’t-expect-that’ category. Club owner Andrea Radrizzani and Sporting Director Victor Orta are out in Valencia and Rodrigo has left Valencia’s training facility and has trained alone today. There is even talk of Valencia being in financial murkiness. All that is known.
With lots of the same stories going about with words simply swapped around, here’s hopefully something a little different.
What is Rodrigo’s game like?
As can be seen from the above graphic from Smarterscout, Rodrigo is primarily a right-sided/central player who is not afraid to drop back looking for the ball. When in his own half, the majority of his pass actions are short passes (blue blocks) with medium-range passes (green blocks) more used in the opposition half of the field and more centrally at that. The frequency of such passes (the size of the blocks) is most obvious in the opponents’ midfield area. He also gets forward into the box where numerous passes (blue/yellow/green) from which his assists come and also shots (grey blocks).
Smarterscout also ranks players using a FIFA-style out-of-99 algorithm based on their actions across a season. Defensively, he is not up to much but you’d expect that from a relatively small striker. Where he excels is with his link-up passed (rated 80) and his passing towards goal (92), whilst also scoring relatively high in terms of dribbling (rated 58).
Statistics-wise, Rodrigo has an xG of 0.11 and an xG per shot of 0.15 which correlates to a 15% conversion rate of all shots taken. For Valencia last season, he rated as 24% xG from his passes and 46% xG when receiving the ball. He had an 82% involvement in all Valencia moves that ended in a goal, 51% involvement in Valencia moves that ended in a shot and 70% involvement in total Valencia xG.
On a final note, and stepping away from Smarterscout’s data, Rodrigo had a La Liga assist rate of 0.34 last season which placed him 3rd behind Luis Suarez (0.36) and Lionel Messi (0.62).