By Andre Baibich & Kris Voakes
It appears to be nothing more than an open secret now. Members of Juventus' board of directors are reportedly heading back to Brazil during the international break to make further steps in their pursuit of Sao Paulo's Rhodolfo. Having missed out on the big defender's signature in the summer, they look set to land their man in the January transfer window.
Despite their flying start to the campaign there have been signs of defensive frailty, and the response of the club has been decisive. Rhodolfo is now their clear number one target to provide competition in the centre of their back four.
But does the former Atletico Paranaense stopper have what it takes to be Juve's answer, and do his qualities match the club's needs? Goal.com Brazil's chief editor, Andre Baibich, has broken down the huge defender's game and looks into his suitability for Antonio Conte's side.
|MENTAL ATTRIBUTES (Marks out of 5)
Andre believes the 25-year-old has one particularly notable attribute to his game.
"I would say that Rhodolfo's ability in the aerial game, both offensively and defensively is the key component of his game. He is integral to Sao Paulo's defence.
"That being said, this Sao Paulo defence is not nearly as good as the ones from previous years, where other defenders like Miranda and Breno were far better than Rhodolfo," he says.
|TECHNICAL ATTRIBUTES (Marks out of 5)
"He is certainly a no-nonsense character as opposed to a ball-playing defender. He can push forward sometimes, but his physical style of play stands out the most.
"He reminds me of Lucio in some aspects. He is very driven and shows a lot of heart. He also has those big runs with the ball going forward. However, I don't believe that he has the potential to become as good a defender as Lucio is."
The 25-year-old has one Brazil cap to his name so far, and Andre is unsure he has what it takes to become a fixture in the Selecao backline.
"I don't think anyone sees enough potential in him to believe he will be a regular starter for Brazil, especially with the quality of young defenders such as Thiago Silva and David Luiz to consider as well.
"Rhodolfo isn't really a player who attracts that much attention. Everyone knows he is a solid and good defender, but he is not extraordinary and is not a flashy guy, so he doesn't receive a lot of media attention."
| PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES (Marks out of 5)
|OVERALL||60 / 100
In particular relation to Juventus, and bearing in mind the lack of real authority in the air and shortage of mobility in the defensive third, Andre believes these at least are issues Rhodolfo may help to address.
"If Rhodolfo is going to help Juve, those are exactly the qualities he can bring. For a defender, he has very good mobility and uses his height to great effect in the air.
So while his better capabilities may match up to what Conte will be looking for from a new addition, Andre's words of caution suggest that Juventus may do well to continue looking around before settling on Rhodolfo as their next defensive signing.