Julen Lopetegui wants Valencia's number 9 Rodrigo for Madrid
After another great strike, this time against Atlético, the Spanish striker continues to be in the sights of Real's new manager, despite the 120-million-euro clause.
Real Madrid fans have made it clear that they want their club to sign of a centre forward (88% of those who responded to an AS.com poll said so), and Julen Lopetegui is keen to have another out-and-out frontman to complement Karim Benzema, whose place in the squad is not currently at risk. However, the men at the top of the organisation (Florentino Pérez and José Ángel Sánchez) appear reluctant to splash the cash, in the belief that the current squad has the tools to achieve their objectives despite the loss of goal-machine Cristiano Ronaldo.
Rodrigo is Lopetegui's target
With less that ten days until the summer transfer window closes for Spanish teams, the name that is getting most focus as a potential signing is Valencia's number nine, Rodrigo Moreno. The young Spaniard has risen to the top of the list following the disappearing hopes of Los Blancos capturing higher-profile targets such as Cavani, Kane or Lewandowski, and the manager maintains the view that he has long held that Rodrigo could be the ideal addition to his squad. A Madrid youth player from 2008-10, his development continued for three years at Benfica before his move to Valencia. He has also been observed at close hand in the Spanish national team under the tutorage of Lopetegui himself, ever since his time as U-21 coach when the two worked together, a young side that won the 2013 European Championships in Israel.
But the transfer situation is deadlocked. Those responsible for transfer dealings in the Spanish capital believe that the 120-million-euro release clause of the striker is excessive. Valencia boss Marcelino has not missed an opportunity to remind them of that fee amid the rumours. Both Morata and Mariano have left the Bernabéu in recent years, and the valuation seen as reasonable - one that would almost certainly be sanctioned - is around 60 million euros. With yet another crucial goal in Valencia's tough opening fixture of the season from their main man, that is not going to be accepted.
Rodrigo not closing the door
"I will not repeat what I have been saying since March. I've said enough and little more... "
This was the rather ambiguous line that Rodrigo responded with to the final question put to him in his post-match interview on Monday night when asked where his future lay. The player had the perfect chance to close the door to any more speculation but was not forceful in denying a potential move to the capital.
In addition, Mateu Alemany, the general director at Valencia, was interview by Spanish national newspaper El País, talking about the current sporting and business development at the club. Asked specifically about the situation of the Spanish-Brazilian striker and the possibility that he could leave the Mestalla, he replied:
"At the moment, with release clauses existing in Spain, I can not guarantee anything about the Rodrigo staying. Of course, our plan is that Rodrigo continues at Valencia."
Marcelino and the Valencia owners remains confident that the player will stay, especially in the year that the club returned to the Champions League. The only way to change that, therefore, is for Real Madrid to pay big and for Rodrigo to desire the move. The clock is ticking...