Arsenal are yet to submit an offer for Guido Rodriguez but have been given clear instructions on how they should go about doing so.
Rodriguez is one of the midfielders most heavily linked with Arsenal this summer. Mikel Arteta wants to upgrade his options in the territory he used to roam for the club. Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi have no future at the club following loan spells away. What’s more, Arsenal have lost Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard after their loans at the club ended.
Hence, they will need reinforcements in both the defensive and attacking areas of their midfield. Rodriguez is one option for the former, having impressed in a holding role for Real Betis.
News of Arsenal’s interest emerged in March and has not faded since. Earlier this week, for example, they were named as the leading candidates to sign the 27-year-old.
But their hopes have since been dashed by Estadio Deportivo, who insist that selling Rodriguez is not on the agenda for Betis.
After finishing sixth in La Liga last season, the Seville-based side are now planning for the year ahead. Unlike Arsenal, they will be involved in European competition, having qualified for the Europa League. However, they too are ready to get rid of some players.
Rodriguez is not one of the names on their list, though. Instead, they would rather keep the Argentine midfielder and are making a big effort to do so.
According to Estadio Deportivo, Arsenal have not made a formal offer for Rodriguez yet. They may well be one of the several clubs to have asked about him, but there has been no further progress. In fact, there is unlikely to be unless they activate the €80m release clause in Rodriguez’s contract.
Betis are unwilling to accept a lower fee, meaning Arsenal must pay a huge price if they really want the former River Plate man.
It would mark a significant profit for Los Verdiblancos, who only spent €3m to sign him in January 2020. Rodriguez’s performances in the time since then have seen his value soar.
Betis are even planning to give him an extension to his contract, which still runs until 2024. It is not yet clear how that might affect his release clause.
Arsenal had to wait until the last day of the summer 2020 transfer window to sign Thomas Partey by activating his own release clause. Whether they are prepared to go as high as the value of Rodriguez’s remains to be seen, but they may be facing a similar lengthy pursuit if they really want him.
Arteta warned against midfielder signing
Another La Liga midfielder to be linked with Arsenal recently was Philippe Coutinho, whose move from Liverpool to Barcelona in 2018 never really worked out.
As such, the playmaker is being linked with a Premier League return. Arsenal could take him to fill the void left by Odegaard. However, he would first have to prove his fitness after a recent injury.
But even if he does, one club legend has advised the Gunners not to sign him.
Nigel Winterburn told Goal earlier this month: “I wouldn’t go down that line. We’ve got a lot of young talent coming through.
“Unless he would be on the right wages or if there was a way to fit him in then it could be an option.
“It’s been touted around so much I don’t believe it’ll happen.
“Coutinho was very good at Liverpool, but since then I’ve not been impressed and I’m not convinced by it.”
Arsenal clearly have work to do to address multiple areas of need in their squad. They may have to go back to the drawing board in terms of targeting new defensive and attacking midfielders.