Barca boss Setien lauds 'extraordinary' Valencia star Rodrigo amid transfer links

goal.com, 24 January 2020, 12:43
The manager has admitted he is a fan of the striker, who has been linked with a move to Camp Nou

Barcelona boss Quique Setien says he likes "all good players" amid links of a move for Valencia striker Rodrigo.

The La Liga leaders are in the market for a new striker after Luis Suarez was ruled out for the majority of the campaign following surgery on his knee.

Barca have been linked with numerous players since Suarez went under the knife on January 11, including Chimy Avila, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Timo Werner.

Goal reported earlier this month that Barcelona are plotting an audacious move to sign Aubameyang on loan in January.

Rodrigo is another rumoured target and Setien waxed lyrical over the Spain international, who has been nursing a knee injury of his own over the past few weeks.

Asked specifically about Rodrigo at his pre-match news conference ahead of this weekend's league clash with Valencia at Mestalla, Setien said: "I like all good players.

"He's an extraordinary footballer and tomorrow he could give us problems - he is a key player for their team.

"I would have preferred if he wasn't playing, but we know that if he's not there then there is another player. Valencia have a great squad with or without Rodrigo."

Setien was appointed as Ernesto Valverde's successor last week and has won his first two games in charge, including a 2-1 Copa del Rey victory against Ibiza in midweek.

Barca were given a real scare by the minnows, requiring a last-minute goal from Antoine Griezmann to secure a comeback victory and a last-16 tie against Leganes.

And after dominating the possession count in the wins over Granada and Ibiza, Setien admitted it would have counted for little had his side not picked up the victories.

"I had a huge shock in Ibiza," he said. "I am not going to lie, this is clear. We have to stress a lot the things that we give high importance to. In theory, this shouldn't take us long.

"But in general I already know that lots of people only care about results. Those will only care to win, not how we play. This is like this in today's football and its fine to me.

"I believe that the way [you play] should be valued too, how you get to the victory or how you lose. That seems like the right way to look at things, even though I can understand that some people only care about the results."

Barca are level on points with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga ahead of their meeting with Valencia, who are seventh in the table after losing 4-1 at Real Mallorca last time out in the league.

Setien is wary of a response from Albert Celades' side, however, adding: "When a team like Valencia loses their previous match, the desire to break this streak is a motivation. As I always say and repeat, I always expect the best version of our rivals.

"Valencia is a great team, without doubt, with very good footballers. They will make things difficult for us and it will be truly a match of great level.

"Our capacity to harm them might be bigger because they are a team with capacity to attack. Surely they will try so we will take the most of those spaces. We will probably have more spaces than in the previous two matches."

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