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Talking Tactics

New signings: Intelligent Rodrigo a natural fit for Leeds

Adrian Clarke 4 Sep 2020
Rodrigo, Leeds

Adrian Clarke says addition of the Spain striker is set to give Leeds' attack greater creativity and energy

Adrian Clarke assesses players who have changed clubs this summer and can make an impact in 2020/21.

Rodrigo Moreno (LEE)

Leeds United’s strength under Marcelo Bielsa is built around great industry, intelligent movement and cohesive teamwork. 

This style of football will be a natural fit for new signing Rodrigo.

The 29-year-old Spain international, who joined from Valencia on a four-year contract, is a hardworking striker who offers mobility and a razor-sharp instinct inside the opposition half.

Whether used as a centre-forward or in one of the wide attacking roles, Rodrigo will bring a positive energy to the side.

Established international

He returns to the Premier League as Leeds' club-record signing a decade after spending the 2010/11 campaign on loan at Bolton Wanderers.

Although he only scored once in 17 appearances during his previous Premier League spell with the Trotters, Rodrigo is now an established international with a terrific record for Spain, scoring eight goals from his 23 senior appearances. 

Over the course of 2017/18 and 2018/19 he netted an impressive 34 times in all competitions for Valencia. 

Last season was slightly less prolific with a return of seven goals from 34 outings.

Rodrigo's magic moments

Rodrigo converted less than 10 per cent of his chances last season but Bielsa has looked beyond that statistic.

The Argentinian knows he has recruited a player who contributes to the team when he is not delivering goals.

Busy and creative, he often draws markers towards him before laying on chances for others.

Rodrigo provided nine assists across his LaLiga and UEFA Champions League matches in 2019/20. 

He is dangerous cutting in from the right to take shots at goal with his excellent left foot, and he is also a threat attacking crosses at the near post.

Rodrigo's influence for Valencia 2019/20
Rodrigo LaLiga UCL
Minutes played 1,889 527
Goals 4 2
Assists 7 2
Shots/per 90 mins 1.95 3.76
Conversion rate % 11.8 9.1

The Spaniard has a keen eye for space in the final third and this movement must be watched closely by opposition defenders.

Attacking options

Bielsa can use Rodrigo as his main striker, on either flank, or even as a false nine. 

The 29-year-old has the ingredients to play anywhere across the forward line. 

Rodrigo will also press defenders with intensity, which suits the head coach's preferred style. 

Leeds have acquired a striker with the right attitude and pedigree to succeed on his return to English football.

Rodrigo may not be a prolific goal-getter but he is sure to improve their starting XI.

Also in this series 

Part 1: World-class Ziyech can do the spectacular
Part 2: Lallana offers Brighton a cutting edge
Part 3: Hojbjerg can tighten up Spurs' midfield
Part 4: Salisu's physicality well-suited to Premier League
Part 5: Ake will balance out Man City defence
Part 6: Thiago Silva well suited to Lampard's style
Part 7: Willian will add creative flair to Arsenal
Part 8: Eze to help reinvigorate Palace

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