A key man in Switzerland’s European Championships campaign this summer was Ricardo Rodriguez. The explosive left-back had a great outing in France and has further added to his growing list of suitors as a result.
Every other transfer window, Rodriguez’s name comes up as being one bound for a possible exit from the Bundesliga club; but this summer’s transfer window looks like the final straw set to break the camel’s back as far as making the long-awaited switch to a big side goes.
Arsenal, Real Madrid and Chelsea have all been linked with the 23-year-old left back, and as an exit looms, here are three like-for-like replacements Wolfsburg can pursue, given their moderate spending power. They can also act as possible options for those clubs that are unsuccessful in their pursuit of Rodriguez.
3 Mattia De Sciglio
Antonio Conte deployed the AC Milan full-back as the left winger in his 5-man midfield setting for Italy at the Euros, primarily because of his brilliant attacking and defensive abilities. The 23-year-old delivered.
Putting in some scintillating displays, the Italy international showed fantastic ability when going forward, meaning he is an adequate replacement for the attack-minded Ricardo Rodriguez. De Sciglio was also an integral part of the Milan side that placed 7th last term in Serie A and his quality has already seen him attract Juventus and Napoli this summer.
Signing a player of his status won’t come easy for Wolfsburg, but having attracted the likes of Dante and Luiz Gustavo in recent seasons, targeting De Sciglio isn’t too unrealistic. He can also comfortably play on both the left and right wings, so his versatility can be of enormous use to whichever club is lucky enough to have this player for the upcoming season.
2 Juan Bernat
Having struggled for game time at the Allianz Arena since his arrival from Valencia two summers ago, the 2012 European Under-19 Championship winner may start to consider his future as he has experienced a stunted international career growth since progressing through the Spanish youth ranks.
Wolfsburg may come to the rescue of Juan Bernat if Rodriguez does end up being sold, as the 23-year-old may be tempted at having a starting berth to himself at the Volkswagen Arena. However, a lack of European football for the club might dissuade Bernat from agreeing to such a switch.
His qualities almost match those of Rodriguez’, and with regular playing time, his full potential will come to fore. It will be a herculean challenge to lure him away from Munich, but given that he has the chance to prove himself and compete for a regular place in the national side by showing his abilities with regular football, a move could work out, even if it will come at a price.
1 Ulisses Garcia
The 20-year-old is a low-cost yet quality option to fill the shoes of the departing Ricardo Rodriguez.
A Swiss youth international and Werder Bremen left-back, the Grasshopper Club youth product is also able to play as a winger, and given his energy and defensive nous that betrays his young age, he would slot right into the Wolfsburg lineup.
He is still developing but has a massive potential for improvement and can serve the club over a lengthy spell. On the verge of a national call-up, Garcia has shown a lot of growth and development since he arrived in Germany two seasons ago, and the Volkswagen Arena will be a perfect place to continue his steady progress.