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Villarreal have to get things right in the summer window to replace Atletico-bound Rodri and the ageing Bruno Soriano

Villarreal have agreed their latest sale of a player destined for the top with Rodri Hernandez heading to Atletico Madrid in the summer.

Fernando Roig announced on Monday that the 21-year-old will join El Rojiblanco in the summer for a £20 million fee with five variables.

Rodrigo is seen as the natural replacement for Sergio Buquets in the Spanish national team in years to come after a series of impressive performances for Villarreal in the absence of seasoned midfielder Bruno Sorianio.

The 21-year-old started his career with Atlerico Madrid, before joining the Vilarreal cantera in 2013, but after making the grade for the Yellows, the Madrid-born Rodri apparently expressed his desire to return home.

For a player destined for the top, it seems like the natural move, but for Villarreal it means another top talent is set to walk out of the doors at La Ceramica.

Villarreal have a reputation for cashing in on their best players and Rodri is the latest to add substance to that claim, joining a top four rival in Atletico Madrid.

El Submarino aren’t looking like a top four team this season, especially given their injury problems and early change of manager but the top four is their ultimate goal.

Whether Rodri wanted to go or not, it seems to be poor judgement for him to be sold to one of the three teams standing in the way of Villarreal and a return to the top four.

In a sense, it’s a good move because Villarreal could reclaim £20 million for the talented youngster after signing him from the same club for free, but again, with Bruno struggling for fitness and his advancing years, there is a question over the gap that could be left.

Villarreal now have to find a new replacement for Bruno Soriano in the future and while the cantera continues to produce top talent, one like Rodri doesn’t come along every day and £20 million for a young, improved model of Bruno Soriano may not be enough.

Rodri was released by Atletico Madrid for ‘lacking physical strength’ so it’s perhaps surprising he has such a desire to go back having been discarded, but ultimately it is his boyhood club and it’s the next step in what could be a huge career. He really is that good, he’s been terrific this season.

For Villarreal, they have added further to the growing void between themselves and the top four, putting huge pressure on themselves and Javi Calleja to get things right in the next two transfer windows.

The Yellows aren’t too far behind the likes of Sevilla this season and their bad start has certainly cost them but with Rodri heading away in the summer, they’ll need to make an impressive addition to their all-important midfield to keep up with the top bracket of La Liga.

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