It is extremely obvious by now that Manchester United manager David Moyes wants to dip into the transfer market for a new left-back. With Patrice Evra’s performance level deteriorating as he shows signs of his age and other decent options in the current squad very limited, there is no doubt that this area of the United squad needs strengthening. Their pursuits of Everton’s Leighton Baines and Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao have been well documented, but with both deals seemingly going nowhere, the Red Devils boss will have to turn his attention to other options.
One of the most promising left-backs on the continent is definitely Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez, who has, despite being just 21-years-old, recorded the highest Squawka Performance Score (696) at the Bundesliga’s fifth-placed club this season. Although the Express reported earlier this month that Wolfsburg are in no rush to sell the exciting Swiss full-back, United should certainly test their resolve by tabling an offer before the close of the January transfer window.
Rodriguez is a very talented player, who has made his name as an attacking full-back who loves to whip in plenty of crosses from open play or dead ball situations. Only Brazilian playmaker Diego (33) has created more chances than Rodriguez (32) for Wolfsburg this season. He has tormented opposition full-backs over the course of the current campaign with his ability to time his overlaps to perfection. The Swiss international then has the technical ability to deliver an accurate cross at pace for the strikers to attack.
It is not just his ability to overlap which has troubled defenders, he has been able to dribble past players too. Rodriguez has won 43 of his 51 attempted take-ons at a stunning 84% success rate. He has also managed to win 28 free-kicks for his side which has benefitted Wolfsburg as both Diego and Rodriguez excel from dead ball situations. It is this skill from set pieces that has seen Rodriguez chip in with three league goals too.
Rodriguez’ ability to attack from deep is matched by his desire to recover his position should his side lose the ball. When you are such an attacking full-back, it is vital that you have the necessary pace to get back and defend; Rodriguez has that in abundance.
The Swiss defender has won 46 tackles at a 72% success rate whilst completely seven defensive actions per game this season. It is difficult to criticise him as he is so good at both attacking and defending. Standing at 5ft 11, he is relatively tall for a full-back and it is this height and physicality that has enabled him to make 70 clearances and win 60% of his 78 headed duels in the Bundesliga this season. Added to all of this, Rodriguez has made 32 interceptions and has not made a single defensive error, showing that he is reliable as well as exciting.
United will not panic in their pursuit of players, but their defeat to Sunderland in the League Cup semi-final last night and their other recent poor results have definitely piled the pressure on Moyes to add to the squad. Rodriguez would be an extremely shrewd acquisition as he would be able to fill that left-back berth at Old Trafford for years to come and there aren’t many better options out there right now. Whether he would be allowed to leave in January is a different story.