Spain are slowly undergoing a metamorphosis at the international level as age catches up on some of their worldbeaters for the last decade and some new players are staking their claim at the side.
In the new guard comes forward Rodrigo Moreno, starting striker at Valencia and cousin to the highly-heralded duo of Thiago Alcantara and Rafinha (the latter being loosely linked with the Blues last season) as well as nephew of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup star Mazinho.
Take this with the grain of salt that it deserves due to the source, but CalcioMercato are reporting that Everton could in for the forward. The Blues’ main competition are Serie A champions Juventus, who just signed Joao Cancelo from Valencia and are planning to return for Moreno as well.
Also mentioned in the report are Atletico Madrid, the club that apparently Farhad Moshiri and the Everton Board are going to attempt to emulate in the next few years.
Rodrigo is 27 already, having spent most of his time playing at Valencia and Benfica, along with a mostly unsuccessful loan stint with Bolton in the Premier League back in 2010-11.
He was sublime this last year, playing 44 times and bagging 19 goals with 7 assists for Valencia to lead them into the Champions League after a fourth-placed finish in La Liga. Rodrigo has six Spain senior international caps, having scored twice and is in the squad to the World Cup.
Rodrigo has been a late bloomer, but his performance over the last two seasons is quite similar to a forward we reluctantly bid farewell to last season. Had he not missed half of the 2016-17 season with an ankle ailment, his numbers would have been quite similar to Romelu Lukaku’s 2016-17 and 2017-18.
The Blues signed Turkish forward Cenk Tosun over the January transfer window, and though it took him a while to break into the impotent starting lineup fielded by Sam Allardyce, he has undoubtedly made an impact at the position.
Here are his limited minutes last season compared to Rodrigo’s season.
Marcel Brands has made it quite clear that he is not interested in signing players who basically catch lightning in a bottle through a couple of good seasons or a stellar World Cup tourney, so it’s unlikely the Toffees will shell out the expected price of £30million at a position where we already have an adept starter, especially with the all the needs everywhere else in the squad.
Interestingly enough, the Blues host Valencia at Goodison Park in their last preseason friendly before the Premier League season kicks off in August. Will Rodrigo be an Everton player by then? Let’s see.