'He's a great player' - Guardiola coy on Rodri links as speculation swirls

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The Spain international has been the subject of speculation over a move to the Etihad Stadium but their boss is refusing to confirm anything

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola feels that Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri is a "great player" but refused to be drawn on whether the Premier League champions are pursuing him.

The Spain international has been strongly linked with a move to the English title holders in recent weeks ever since he reportedly told the La Liga outfit that he intends to leave ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The 23-year-old only signed for Diego Simeone's side last year, making the switch from Villarreal, and he enjoyed a fine first season as Los Rojiblancos came second behind Barcelona.

Reports have claimed that City will trigger the player's €70m (£63m/$80m) release clause, in a move that would make him the club's record signing, as they look to secure their third Premier League title in a row to make history.

Guardiola however refused to be drawn on whether he would be heading to the Etihad Stadium when he was asked at a presentation in Barcelona, though he did imply that a move certainly remained a possibility.

Speaking to reporters, the Spaniard stated: "I've no idea [if Rodri is going to City], you'll see. He's a great player."

One player however who will definitely not be making the move to Manchester is Real Madrid's Marco Asensio, with Guardiola adamant that a move would not be on the cards for the 23-year-old.

"There is no chance that City will sign him," he added.

The club today did however confirm that veteran David Silva would leave the club at the end of the upcoming campaign after bringing up a decade with the Citizens.

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The veteran Blues favourite added that he would not be leaving for an English rival, stating that he could not see himself playing against his old club following his long association.

City head to China next month to kick-off their pre-season preparations in earnest in the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy alongside West Ham, Newcastle and Wolves.

They then head to Hong Kong and Japan to face Kitchee SC and Yokohama F. Marinos respectively, before they return to England for their Community Shield clash with Liverpool at Wembley.