Ricardo Rodriguez used to be one of the Bundesliga’s best players when he was bombarding down the left flank for VFL Wolfsburg, and FC Schalke 04 reportedly want to bring the veteran defender back to the Bundesliga.
AC Milan will need to make major changes to their squad this winter and next summer, but the have found a future superstar in Theo Hernandez at left back. The former Real Madrid man has excelled for Milan this season, to the point where veteran fullback Ricardo Rodriguez has become an afterthought for the Rossoneri.
According to a report from SportMediaset in Italy, via Calciomercato.com, FC Schalke 04 are “incredibly keen” on signing Rodriguez and are “close” to signing a deal.
Consider me surprised. Rodriguez has only played four games in Serie A this season due to Hernandez’s emergence, and while he’s a decent player in his own right, he’s not close to the player he was at Wolfsburg a handful of years ago.
Furthermore, Schalke seem to be set at left back with Bastian Oczipka, who is in the midst of an excellent season. Rodriguez is known for his deliveries from the left, but Oczipka’s set pieces and crosses have been more devastating – and he’s also a better defender.
In fact, Oczipka has been so good that FC Barcelona are frustrated that talented young loanee Juan Miranda has been unable to get any playing time for Schalke this season. It’s hard to see them accommodating an experienced fullback like Rodriguez, who will surely want more playing time than he’s getting at Milan if he were to move teams this winter.
Rodriguez is almost guaranteed to leave Milan soon, and while Schalke seem to be high on him based on this report, it’s hard to see a deal happening. The Switzerland international could come cheap and has real bounce-back potential in the Bundesliga, but there may be better fits for Die Knappen than Rodriguez.
The club could try to move him into a more advanced role like Daniel Caligiuri, since that would fit Rodriguez’s skill-set better. If so, he could be a decent veteran signing, but, again, it depends on his price and interest.