Chelsea linked with Spain's number nine

Alex Grimm

...of the under-21 variety. Although he's 22 now.

Rodrigo Moreno Machado was born in Brazil, but lives and plays in Portugal, and represents Spain at the international level. He's also the cousin of Thiago Alcântara (and Rafinha, by default), although despite that fact, Josep Guardiola is not the name that's being linked with the 22-year-old forward.  It is actually José Mourinho, the man who was in charge of Real Madrid when Rodrigo was sold off to Benfica in 2010 for €6m, with a since-cancelled buyback clause for double that amount.

After a random and unspectacular loan spell at Bolton Wanderers following said transaction, Rodrigo had begun to establish himself at Benfica and for various Spain national youth teams.  In fact, after helping Spain U21 to the European Championship title this summer, Rodrigo graduated from La Rojita with a record of 15 goals in 16 matches.

Lightning quick, his talent is undeniable.  Yet, as Sport Witness report, he's currently flying under the radar of most high profile teams.  Which is where Chelsea (whom Rodrigo faced for 66 minutes in last year's Europa League final) and Michael Emenalo have the opportunity to step in.

The young striker Rodrigo, 22, is one of the names by coach Jose Mourinho equated to strengthen the attack Chelsea. According to our newspaper found the 'blues' Benfica even approached to inquire about the conditions of acquisition of international under-21 Spanish...

-source: A Bola via Google Translate

A Bola can be a rather sketchy source, so take this with all the grains of salt you can possibly handle but it may be worth noting that Rodrigo and Ramires (and Victor Moses) all share the same agent, which could lead to plenty of greased wheels.

With José yesterday hinting that perhaps it is not quite "Rooney or bust!" for Chelsea - and let's not forget about Bruma and his court of arbitration thing that's due to settle on or before August 27 - Rodrigo suddenly presents a rather intriguing, young, and exciting prospect.  As the first step in a potential negotiation, the price being bandied about is €20 million.

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