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Man City activates release clause of Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodrigo

Club Atletico de Madrid v Sevilla FC - La Liga

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 12: Rodrigo Hernandez Cascante of Club Atletico de Madrid reacts during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Sevilla FC at Wanda Metropolitano on May 12, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

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It’s been a busy day - and summer - at the Wanda Metripolitano.

After sealing the arrival of midfielder Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid confirmed on Wednesday that Manchester City activated the release clause of 23-year-old Rodrigo, leaving the club no choice but to ship the youngster to the Premier League side. The release clause totaled $79 million, setting a new transfer record at Man City.

Rodrigo joined the club just last summer from Villareal for $25 million, representing a significant return on investment for Atletico Madrid in just one season. He played a heavy role last campaign as Atleti finished second in the La Liga table, appearing 34 times in league play and scoring three goals. He racked up 3,675 minutes during the season across all competitions, fourth-most on the entire squad and more than fellow midfielders Koke and Thomas Partey.

A defensive midfielder, Rodrigo represents an important acquisition for Manchester City. The club’s biggest struggles over the last two title-winning seasons have come during spells without Fernandinho, who has been sidelined at times by knee and thigh problems. With the Brazilian now 34 years old, securing a young, starting-caliber defensive midfielder is a smart investment at a thin position.

Their previous transfer record was the $75 million acquisition of Riyad Mahrez last summer, which itself topped the $72 million purchase of Aymeric Laporte and the $68 million for Kevin de Bruyne.

It has been a summer of change at Atletico Madrid, with club fixtures Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann, and Juanfran all leaving for various reasons plus the big-money departures of Rodrigo, Lucas Hernandez, and Gelson Martins. Marcos Llorente, Felipe, and Herrera have arrived with the hopes of filling the void, and there are likely more incoming transfers to be secured.

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