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Daniel Levy's imaginary shortlist: Rodrigo

Tottenham Hotspur are expected to sign an established striker and an up-and-comer. Could Rodrigo be the latter?

Michael Steele

On Sunday, The Mirror linked Tottenham Hotspur to Benfica forward Rodrigo. Let's dig in a bit.

The Basics

Name: Rodrigo Moreno Machado

Age: 22

Team: S.L. Benfica

League: Portuguese Liga

Position: Striker

Can also play: Wide forward

The Specifics

Rodrigo impressed in the Real Madrid youth setup, but it became apparent as he entered his late teens that he wasn't quite good enough to hold down a first team place at the Santiago Bernabeu. Along with central defender Ezequiel Garay, who despite being a bit older was in a similar boat, Rodrigo moved to Benfica in 2010.

He looked like a bit of a coup for Bolton Wanderers when they took him on loan in 2010, but he struggled with the Lancashire club. His fortunes improved the following season, when he became an impact substitute for Benfica, eventually playing his way into a regular starting role.

Rodrigo played primarily as a wide forward in the 2011-12 season as Benfica played more 4-2-3-1 than anything else, but Jorge Jesus switched back to primarily playing with a 4-4-2 diamond/4-1-3-2 during this most recent season. Regularly partnered with Oscar Cardozo, Rodrigo turned in a solid season. During his Benfica career, he's scored 30 goals in 72 appearances.

While he's failed to break into the impossible to break into Spanish national side, Rodrigo has been spectacular for their youth teams, netting 14 goals in 12 games for the Under-21 team. He is in Spain's side for the Under-21 European Championship.


The Verdict

Likely price: £8.8m, according to TransferMarkt.

Probability that valuation is wrong: Pretty solid. Benfica regularly sells their best players to make money, but they have their finances in order. If Rodrigo impresses at the Under-21 championship, his price is going to go up. I doubt he'll be sold for less than £10m and I could see his price climbing as high as £15m.

Team's willingness to sell: They'd probably rather part with Cardozo, and they're not exactly loaded up top, though Lima has been a revelation this season. Nelson Olivera and Yannick Djalo, two talented young strikers, didn't have great loan spells this year and Alan Kardec looks like he's never going to come good at this point. If they're sure one of those two loanees is going to step it up next season or they have an undervalued foreign talent in their sights they may be willing to cash in on Rodrigo, but their striker depth is shaky.

Fit at Tottenham Hotspur: Rodrigo isn't the big, strong, back to goal center forward that a lot of Spurs fans want, but he can play up top in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. He's got the size, touch and finishing, but he'll have to get used to not playing with a more physical partner and improve his movement off the ball to be a great lone center forward. He's not "THE" answer, but he's a great sub option and depth at wide forward spots who I believe will develop into an excellent center forward.

Possibility he ends up at Spurs: Average. He ticks the 'center forward', 'young' and 'reasonably priced' boxes, but Benfica have to be willing to sell first.

Grade if this transfer goes through at likely price: B. While I think it's highly unlikely that Rodrigo turns out to be a huge bust -- I think 'solid squad player' is his absolute floor -- there's still a bit of risk involved in paying £10-15m for a mostly unproven guy.