Swansea City defender Joe Rodon may not have been what many City fans had in mind, however.
Not able to replace Vincent Kompany following the legendary protector announced that he was returning to Belgium, City’s powerbrokers balked in the £80million Leicester City quoted for Harry Maguire.
Things turned from bad to worse when Aymeric Laporte suffered knee ligament damage at the end of August, an accident he returned from on January 21.
With Nicolás Otamendi this year proving beyond all doubt he can’t be relied upon and John Stones in and from the side because of combination of fitness and form, the Citizens look set to get a defensive overhaul.
Given their prosperity and the allure of working under Guardiola for the three-time Premier League winners, you may expect their aspirations to be a little less modest than a Championship defender. However, Rodon is special.
Swansea City coach Steve Cooper considers the 22-year-old is up with all the best the division has to offer.
“He has been as great a centre-back for me (as there is) from the league until he got hurt,” Cooper stated.
“That is with respect to everybody else that is playing. He was having a wonderful season. I can not praise him enough for how he’s conducted himself in rehab to get back.
“It’s given everybody else a boost because he’s a highly popular lad.”
Rodon’s increase has been remarkable. He is among a clutch of homegrown kids who’ve benefited from the Swans’ relegation in 2018. He was an unused substitute after in the Premier League before the beginning of this 2018/19 effort but made 27 Championship appearances.
Given it is Guardiola’s Manchester City we are talking about as a possible destination, that is crucial. Of those, nearly half (20.54) go ahead, which shows Rodon is innovative when on the ball.
Getting good on the ball does not mean Rodon is not an accomplished defender — something that is going to be a relief to Guardiola awarded his frustrations with Stones. Unsurprisingly given his height, he’s aerially dominant winning 2.94 aerial duels (per 90). He reads the game well and can change quite quickly regardless of his size.
His 0.64 tackles (per 90) may not seem like much but when you believe Rodon only tries one challenge per 90, a 64 percent success ratio is remarkable and speaks for his reading of the game and time in the tackle. More pertinent is the fact that he completes 1.5 interceptions (per 90). Guardiola, after all, famously doesn’t ‘train tackles’.
On paper, then, Rodon has all of the technical and physical attributes to make it in a higher level. Indeed, he has already started his ascent by making four caps for Ryan Giggs’ Wales using a Croatian side replete with Luka Modrić, Ivan Perišić, Mateo Kovačić and Marcelo Brozović the most illustrious he’s faced so far.
Interest, based on Swans boss Cooper, is’inevitable’. “If you do well in this point and you’re young and you have got time on your side it is inevitable that you are going to be connected but it’s way too premature to be talking about things like this too much,” Cooper stated when asked about speculation linking Rodon with Manchester City.
Rodon has the quality to ensure a much greater legacy in the Etihad Stadium.