The Athletic’s Phil Hay has delivered a Leeds United update on Rodrigo, who was the subject of late transfer interest from La Liga giants Barcelona.
Speaking on The Phil Hay Show, he said: “My understanding is that Barcelona were keen on him and did have a look at him, but Barcelona have been such a mess through this window that it didn’t feel like it ever got to a point where they were serious about it.
“I mean, Leeds in no way would have let him go on loan, it would have had to have been a permanent (deal). I don’t think they want Rodrigo to go and I don’t think Rodrigo wants to go. Bielsa’s spoken a few times about trying to keep him in the building, keep him in the mix, get him into form.
“So it didn’t seem to me like that was ever going to happen. I mean, from the PR point of view, I really don’t know how that would have looked, you know, right at the end to have been doing a deal for him. But there was Spanish interest in him, without a doubt, because he is a very good player.”
Even here on FFC, Rodrigo’s disappointing career thus far at Elland Road has been criticised, but Hay’s reveal that Bielsa is keen on getting him back to his best is certainly exciting news for fans.
The Spaniard has a proven pedigree at European level with the likes of Valencia and Benfica, and has competed on the biggest stage and in the biggest competitions.
Last season may just have been a period of adaptation, and while his opening day performance against United led to some Leeds fans slamming him, this campaign could well be the making of him.
He showed flashes of his quality towards the back end of last season, not least in Leeds’ 4-0 drubbing of Burnley at Turf Moor where he bagged a late, quick-fire brace after coming on as a substitute.
Whether it’s continuing to give him that role just behind Patrick Bamford, or maybe even a stint up front or out wide like he has played in previous years, Bielsa’s faith in Rodrigo is admirable, and it’s one that may excite fans who are surely keen to see him finally light up Elland Road more than 12 months after first joining them.